If my husband is a hoarder, short of divorce how can I force him to get rid of his “stuff”?

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If my husband is a hoarder, short of divorce how can I force him to get rid of his “stuff”?

My husband is hoarding things and vehicles in my yard, home and garage. Is there a way that I can get him to remove this stuff without getting a divorce? If I have to make him move out with it, I’m OK with that. I will not file for divorce, however.

Asked on December 6, 2010 under Family Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no legal way to make a compentant adult change his or her behavior--if he wants to hoard, he can hoard, and even divorcing wouldn't force him to change that behavior (though it would remove you from the situation). If you feel your husband is not mentally compentent to manage his own affairs, it may be possible to seek legal power over him and/or to have him committed for treatment--that is obviously a VERY drastic step and, anyway, much behavior that someone might find strange and undesirable will not rise to the level of causing someone to be adjudicated not mentally compentent to control their own affairs. Alternately, possibly, if your home is in such a shape as to be a health concern, local health officials could cite you in some fashion and require clean up--though that would only be health issues are implicated and could have other consequences for you (e.g. if the home is not cleaned adequately, they may take further action against you).

You should consult with a variety of resources--perhaps psychologists, family law attorneys, support groups for families of hoards, etc.--to see what recourse you might have, but be aware, that no matter what, you will not find an easy way to compel your husband to get rid of his "stuff."


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