Can I remove livestock from property?

I am in Michigan and I have a livestock herd. I purchased them with money from
my own account. They are all registered in my name only. I want to move them
before winter as I will have pregnant does and babies and it would be detrimental
to their health to move them in very cold weather and locating a farm to rent is
difficult. I am being told that I cannot remove them from the property until
everything is finalized. I asked if I could take over the mortgage until spring in
order to move them once weather is better and he does not want to allow that.
Can I move them now? He does not want the livestock and agrees that I will get
them, but is stating that I cannot take them off the property.

Asked on August 31, 2017 under Family Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

He is right in that if there is a divorce pending, neither side can remove property or assets (unless the other spouse consents) until the divorce is final and the ownersip and/or distribution of assets confirmed...or without a court order. You can go to the family court in which your divorce is pending to make a motion seeking a court order that you be allowed to remove the animals for their safety. The court has the power to order this, possibly contingent on some reasonable steps to protect your spouse if it is later determined that he had some right to the animals: e.g. you could be ordered to escrow some money as a surety. 
Such a motion can generally be heard on around 3 - 5 weeks notice, but if time if of the essence, there is a procedural mechanism, often called an "order to show cause," to get in front of the court faster. Motions, especially when done on such an expedited basis, can be procedurally complex for non-lawyers; you are advised to retain a family law attorney to help you.

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