Can I get my stuff even when my wife says no?

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Can I get my stuff even when my wife says no?

I am separated from my wife by different households and the divorce paperwork has been filed but not finalized. I have been trying to get my stuff because she said that she doesn’t want me there without her. So I have been asking and asking to get my stuff yet everytime she has supposedly had something else going on. Today I asked to get some stuff (my tools) and she said no because other people will be there. I said that’s fine but I need my tools. Can I still go get my stuff even though she said no? Will I have the right if the cops are called? The items were owned by me before the marriage.

Asked on April 19, 2011 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Are you legally separated?  If so, see what the separation agreement states regarding your rights to enter the home and/or your rights to your belongings.  You must abide by whatever it says.  If the agreement does not address this issue (or you are not legally separated and have no agreement), then until the divorce is final the house is still considered to be your joint marital residence.  Accordingly, you have the right to enter and be on the premises (in fact you could move back in if you wanted).  Additionally, if she has changed the locks or otherwise disposed of your belongings, then she has broken the law.

However in order to avoid conflict perhaps your divorce attorney, if you have one, could help you with this.  Otherwise, you should bring a friend with you who can act as a witness as to what you did and did not take; possibly when your wife is not there so as to avoid a confrontation.


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