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What if He’s Threatening to Throw my Stuff Away?

August 22, 2016 Our Blog

A divorce may not always be a completely amicable affair because it is an emotional experience for both parties. Perhaps, this is one reason why your future ex might try to threaten or intimidate you by stating that he intends to throw away your belongings.

The short answer is that he is not legally allowed to do something like this to your personal property. Your soon-to-be ex may be held accountable for any loss that you suffer before the divorce is settled.

Of course, there are other aspects to consider such as whether you are in a community property law-practicing state like California or other states that use the equitable distribution principle. Community property states will divide the assets to roughly equal. Other states that use equitable distribution will look at what each spouse makes, who will keep the children, and other factors to divide the assets.

These factors could determine how much you end up getting should your future ex decide to do something as foolish as throwing away your belongings. You need to talk to your lawyer to get a little more information regarding how these assets might be split up and to get a better idea of what your ex-to-be might end up owing if he decides to dispose of your personal property.

Another important aspect to consider is that your home is still marital property before the divorce is finalized. There is no reason why you cannot simply go home and retrieve your property before your partner tries to throw your things away.

Clearly, it would be wise to go collect your items with someone you trust if you and your husband are not on good terms. Be sure to talk to your lawyer before making this move to avoid any issues. Yes, an item may be yours, but a judge might rule a particular item as something that belongs to both of you. This is why it is important to talk to a lawyer to make sure everything is clear.

An experienced lawyer will likely tell you that you should let your soon-to-be ex know that he or she might end up being liable for any loss that you suffer. This deed could also be used against him during the inevitable divorce trial.

Be sure that you understand that leaving the property is not the best move unless you are being violently harassed. Leaving the property leaves you vulnerable to these types of situations among many others. For one, it will look bad on your part if you left without your children, especially if you are seeking custody. Exiting the property will also put unnecessary strain on your finances when you need to be a little more frugal until the divorce is finalized.

Hopefully, you had a talk with your lawyer before you moved out, but if you did not, at least start to talk to one before you deal with the possibility of your ex throwing away your stuff.

A separation and divorce can be very hard on all concerned. Both parties may have many problems related to the resolution of the divorce. In some cases, the divorce can turn highly acrimonious. Each spouse can feel angry, frustrated and perhaps even in a vindictive mode. In such cases, one partner may look to do all they can punish the other partner. They may look for ways to make life harder for the other member of the partnership. One area that frequently sees a lot of conflict in the event of a divorce where such feelings are present is that of any kind of material possessions. A spouse may make all sorts of threats to the other’s property, especially if that property is kept at the other spouse’s current home. One member of the marriage may even tell the other they are going to throw out items of value to the other person. The possibility of this happening can be feel very intimidating and even scary. It is crucial to remember that there are laws that govern property during the separation and divorce process.

Legal Rights

People have the fundamental right to keep what they own under state laws. This is true even if they are living with someone else as a married couple. Even if there’s an ongoing separation, this does not give the other partner any right to damage the property, let alone to throw it out. Anyone who suffering from such threats has legal recourse. The first thing that should be done is take an inventory of all such items. For example, if the partner is threatening to throw away the spouse’s collection of shoes, now is the time to make a detailed list of the shoes and where they are kept. It’s a good idea to take photographs from several different angles. The spouse does not have the right to throw them out nor do they have the right to damage such things. They cannot take the person’s cherished cashmere sweaters and scarves and dip them in bleach or run them through the wash when it clearly indicates that hand washing is the best option.

Possible Disposal Methods

There are legal ways that the spouse can throw away the person’s stuff. They can choose to indicate they are going to throw them out and then present the other person for a deadline to remove such items. However, this process will generally require the person to document all items that are being thrown out before doing so. It also typically requires the spouse to allow the partner enough time to remove such items in an orderly fashion. A spouse must provide the partner with enough time to get their stuff before they do anything else. Most courts agree that a month or two is sufficient time and that such requests must made in writing with an indication of a specific deadline. The spouse does not have the right to just toss items carelessly out a window.

Getting Access To Your Belongings

If one spouse is no longer sharing living space with another person and that person is making such threats, it’s best to set up a specific date and time to get access to the person’s items. Such threats may be part of a larger problem and may even involve problems such as possible physical and emotions threats. In that case, it is best to communicate to the spouse in advance via legal means such as speaking with their attorney. The attorney can let them know the spouse is planning to visit the home and get their personal items away safely. Keep in mind that what is considers yours may depend on several factors. If it is yours alone such as by inheritance then you have the unqualified right to remove it. A judge may rule that an item belongs to you jointly. In that case, if the spouse concedes it is yours, you can get it.

With Others

It’s best to go the place with another person if possible. A lawyer is ideal. If not, then bring along a friend who is familiar to the spouse and likely to be seen as non-threatening. If the spouse has changed the locks or will not let you in, this should be noted as soon as possible. A spouse who damages your property or does not let you retrieve it at the agreed upon time can be held liable for damages



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