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How Can I Retrieve My Personal Possessions from the House?

December 6, 2018 Our Blog

New York no-fault divorce is anything but easy. No one expects your spouse, for better or for worse, until death do you part, to just quit. Divorce is planning your future and equitable distribution of your marital property. Equitable means fair or relative equality not exactly equal. Equitable distribution is inventorying marital assets and debts and deciding how they will be allocated. The duration of your marriage is a factor in the distribution of your personal property and liabilities.

Distribution of Assets

A family law attorney or mediator can help you get your possessions from your home. Divorce lawyers can negotiate a division of property to benefit your entire family. Divorce lawyers can save your vehicles, home, and assets from creditors and help you plan for a successful future.

While you are in the throes of the dissolution of life as you know it, working with your ex-spouse agreeing on the division of your acquired possessions keeps you out of court, reduces your legal fees, and cuts your court costs. You and your ex-spouse must disposition your:

⦁ Business interests
Retirement funds
Real estate
⦁ Investments

What is marital property?

Marital property means property either you or your spouse or both of you acquired during your marriage. If your property increased or decreased in value during your marriage, the increase is marital money or the decrease is a marital liability. If you paid extra money on your mortgage to pay it off early, your additional payments on your principal is marital money. The equity in your family home and in your business is marital money. Each spouse’s financial contribution to the marriage determines who pays the mortgage and relative spending may determine who pays which credit card bills. Accrued retirement accounts, life insurance payments, pensions, and deferred compensation acquired during your marriage are also marital assets. Gifts exchanged by you and your spouse are marital property.

What is non-marital property?

Separate property includes gifts given or inherited by one spouse or the other from sources outside of the marriage. Income from non-marital properties is separate non-marital income. Your creditors should be paid from the sale of marital property. Each spouse’s earnings or contribution to the marital money is considered in the distribution of the property. The divorce court will exclude property and debt from court-ordered division upon a reasonable agreement between the parties.


Temporary alimony payments are a way to equitably divide resources. Alimony is awarded at the judge’s discretion. Alimony improves the lower socioeconomic spouse’s ability to obtain an education or train for an adequate job. Permanent alimony is paid only to low-income spouses who were always there for their family, housekeeping, raising children, and serving the spouse who supported her financially for many years.

Interim Orders

Interim alimony and partial property distribution orders may be entered upon a sworn motion by one of the parties to the divorce. Good cause for an interim order may be financial hardship or impending foreclosure on the marital home. The petition must demonstrate the need for an interim distribution of assets prior to the final divorce order. The interim order can provide much needed support to the lower income spouse or benefit a custodial parent. The interim distribution is later incorporated into the final divorce decree. Equitable distribution of marital assets reduces the inequity for the filing spouse and prejudice against the non-filing spouse. The judge may award interim attorney’s fees to either spouse.

Domestic Violence

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, our New York City divorce attorney can help you file an order of protection immediately against your spouse to keep you and your children safe.

If you have an order of protection against you for Domestic Violence, our New York City divorce attorney may be able to help you preserve your parental rights. If you regret the mistake you made when you assaulted your spouse, our family law attorney can help you preserve your business and your reputation. You have an obligation to provide financial support for your children. Our domestic violence attorney can help you negotiate a positive outcome for you, your wife, and children.

Spodek Law Group

Call the Spodek Law Group for a free initial consultation with our family law attorney in our multi-lingual New York City, Brooklyn, Bronx, Long Island, or Queens office. Our family law advocates have 40 years of experience advocating for clients in the process of dividing marital assets and liabilities in the best interest of all parties to the divorce. Our Martindale-Hubbell distinguished lawyer Lance Spodek’s legal team can help you negotiate a win-win solution for your small business, save your children’s family home, and relieve the ongoing stress and emotional turmoil of your divorce.

If you are going through a legal separation, a divorce or simply ending any type of domestic relationship, you have the right to claim your possessions. This is true whether they are in a shared home or apartment. What can you can do to make sure that you get your things back after a relationship ends?

You Should Try to Arrange a Time With Your Former Partner

The first thing that you should try is to talk with your former partner to arrange a time to pick up your stuff. Ideally, you will pick a time when he or she is at work or otherwise out of the apartment or home. This enables you to get in, get your property and leave as soon as possible. It also eliminates the odds that the two of you get into a physical or verbal altercation when you get your clothes and other belongings back.

A Police Escort May Be Available

If you can’t arrange a time when your partner won’t be home to get your stuff or you think that you are being watched, a police escort may be available. An officer will stand guard while you load your things into a truck, van or any other vehicle that you bring. If need be, the officer will order your spouse or partner to leave the premises for as long as it would reasonably take to complete the property retrieval process.

A Court Order May Be Necessary

In some cases, it may require a court order to get your things back. The court will designate a time when you are allowed to get your property without any harassment or interference form any other parties. If your belongings are being held in storage or have been moved, you may be allowed time at each place where your property is being held. In some cases, a neutral location may be chosen where your stuff will be waiting for you to pick up.

Can You Get the Cash Instead?

Depending on the circumstances in your case, you may be able to get the cash value of your belongings. For instance, if you have a couch at the home that you shared with your former partner, he or she may be willing to give you money to keep it. This may be the best option if you are forced to downsize after a split or otherwise could use the money more than you could use the couch.

Your property remains your property no matter what happens in a relationship. If you bought something or had something before the relationship started, it is yours to keep for the rest of your life until you gift or sell it. Therefore, don’t be afraid to call the police or get a court order if you can’t get your things back through good faith negotiations.



Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.

~ David Bruce

Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.

~ Rowlin Garcia

Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.

~ Francis Anim

Spodek Law Group

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