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

UPDATED: Apr 19, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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