Divorces are full of contentious issues, but property division is one of the most difficult things to address. Finalizing a divorce doesn’t always end the disputes between spouses, and in most cases, one person has to recover personal items from the other. If the divorce has remained amicable, it’s easy to agree on a time to go and pick those things up. However, when ex-spouses aren’t on good terms, things can get complicated. Here, spouses will learn how they can retrieve the things to which they’re entitled.
Take Important Personal Items When Moving Out
One person (or both) will likely move out of the marital home before the divorce becomes final. If either person has items they’re sure they want to keep, it may be possible to take them when moving out. Before that happens, though, spouses should learn the differences between marital and separate property. This distinction may seem minor, but it’s crucial to what a person can legally do with certain items.
A spouse can take separate property even before a divorce becomes final. They can take marital property as well, as long as they’re honest about it in court. However, they may have to return it if the other spouse didn’t give his or her approval. Alternatively, the item’s value may be considered part of the spouse’s property award.
Recovering Personal Items After Leaving the Marital Home
An appropriate property settlement doesn’t just detail what spouses get in the divorce, it sets forth a deadline by which they must receive it. If a divorce decree contains such a stipulation, it’s important to get those items before time runs out, or the right to the item may be forfeited. Depending on the nature of the relationship between the ex-spouses, options for recovery of personal property might include:
Keep in mind, the most important thing is to get those personal items, not who will be retrieving them. In some cases, a vengeful ex-spouse may not allow the other person to get their things. This is illegal, and it’s possible to go to court and request an order that allows for the collection of the property. The court might hold the other spouse in contempt for violation of the settlement agreement. An experienced family lawyer can help a client file the proper paperwork.
Disposing of the Other Person’s Property
Once the divorce is filed, neither person can destroy, sell, or dispose of property without permission from the court or the other spouse. Even as the divorce becomes final, a spouse cannot get rid of things awarded to the other person until the time limit noted in the decree passes. If either person throws out or sells anything before the law allows it, the other spouse can file a claim for wrongful disposal. In cases where there’s no time limit, the ex-spouse still has to give the other person a reasonable amount of time, but there’s room for interpretation. Generally, as long as one spouse gives the other a deadline and sufficient notice, the court will regard it as reasonable.
Many of a person’s rights during a divorce depend on New York’s laws, as well as the property division agreement’s language and that of the divorce decree. If a client has any questions as to what property they’re entitled to or how to reclaim it, they should consult a family law or divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Todd is a miracle worker who will work tirelessly for you and your family. He is one of the few attorneys i've met - who I earnestly trust to protect me, and who I am happy to refer to our friends and fellow family members. The Spodek Law Group is someone you want on your side, because they will treat you just like family. Todd and his team are available 24/7, and they always answered our calls. Even when we were being irrational, and crazy - they were calm and super helpful. Just call Todd. He gives you a free consultation and is very understanding.- Donna & Robert
85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005
35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106
195 Montague St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201