What Can I Take When I Leave the Marital Home?

A point of concern when someone is preparing for a divorce is "What can I take with me?"  Although there is no requirement in Kentucky that divorcing spouses actually set up separate residences, it is usually better in terms of reducing the stress if the parties do not continue to live together.  Once the decision to leave has been made, it can be confusing about what you can and cannot take with you.

Generally, there is no dispute that when a person moves out, he/she can take their personal items, clothes, toiletries, small items of personal property with negligible value, etc.  This is also the case for your non-marital property that you owned prior to the marriage or, perhaps, inherited from someone or received as a gift.

There tends to be more dispute over bigger ticket items such as furniture, electronics, artwork, expensive jewelry, etc.  Usually there are fewer of these larger ticket items so there is more contention over who should receive them.  ("I want the big screen TV!" "No, I want it!")  What happens then?

First and foremost, you need to consider whether the court has entered a status quo order or other restriction on removing property from the home.  Consult with your attorney, but normally even if a status quo order has been entered, it will not prohibit either party from removing property from the marital residence.  Nevertheless, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, something more specific may have been ordered.  Regardless, even if you are not prohibited from taking the property from the residence, a status quo order would prohibit you from selling, damaging or concealing the property.  It is absolutely vital that you avoid violating the court's order.  If you do violate it, you could be held in contempt and subject to fines, attorney fees and possibly even time in jail.

With that being said assuming there is no order prohibiting you from removing property, you can remove pretty much anything you can get through the door that is either yours or is marital property.  Keep in mind that if it is marital property, whatever you remove will come off of your share of the marital estate so it is important that you keep detailed records of everything that you remove.  However, it is much easier to hold onto a piece of property throughout litigation than it is to force the other party to turn it over.  As always be sure to consult with your attorney before you make any decisions.

Photo courtesy of Atomic Taco

Labels: , , , , ,