Can I get my things if my husband and I are separated?

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Can I get my things if my husband and I are separated?

You have the same legal rights and responsibilities as if you still lived there and until a court says otherwise. That would mean that a court awards one of you sole possession pending the divorce. Is the deed in your name only or in both of our names? In my state the process of dividing the property and debts of a marriage is called “equitable distribution”. Equitable distribution is a 3 step process conducted by the court when spouses are unable to divide property on their own. The first step in the process is “identification”. The court must determine which property is marital and which is separate. Separate property is property owned before marriage, inherited property and gifts. Separate property used to purchase jointly held real estate becomes marital property. Most of the remaining property is designated as marital property. The second step is “valuation”. This is the assignment of a fair market value to each piece of marital property. Frequently, appraisers and other experts assist in this step of the process. The fair market value is the amount that would be paid by a willing buyer to a willing seller. The final step is “distribution”. The court will distribute the property equally unless there are factors present in your case which indicate that an equal division would not be equitable. I would not do anything rash at this point in time until you seek legal help in your area on all this. There seem to be factors that my influence the outcome that are not available here.

Asked on August 10, 2012 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In a marital dissolution process or at least the initial separation the parties typically agree to an initial division of belongings at the outset and then deal with other more important issues and other belongings later on.

Property that is separate and belonging to one spouse does not get divided. It belongs to the person that owns it. As to assets and liabilities that are from the marriage, the court will divide the assets and liabilities equally if the parties cannot do so.

As to getting your belongings during the separation process, you are entitled to them. However if your spouse is not going to cooperate in the process you need to consult with a family law attorney to assist you.

Given the complicated nature of a dissolution and/or marital separation and the concerns that you have raised in your question, I suggest that you meet with a family law attorney sooner rather than later to help guide you through the process concerning the situation you are in.


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