Can I move out with my stuff before the divorce is final?

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Can I move out with my stuff before the divorce is final?

I just filed divorce paperwork and he is about to be served. I asked him about discussing dividing up our belongings and he said I can’t just get a moving truck and take my things because it would not be legal. We are still living together, but don’t people separate before divorce all the time? I know I can take the furniture that belonged to me before the marriage, but what about furniture that we bought jointly after marriage? What am I legally allowed to do? I spoke with an attorney and she said I could move out at any time, but I didn’t ask about taking stuff with me.

Asked on December 4, 2010 under Family Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can move out at any time. Bringing items with you could complicate matters during the divorce, however, since your current husband could claim that you took joint marital property, which might then be counted against you when dividing up assets. Since Arizona is a community property state, everything acquired during marriage belongs to the both of you and neither has a right--without the other's consent--to simply take assets. You should speak with the attorney again about this issue and get advice customized to your specific situation. I suspect the answer will be something like to take as  little as possible, and to in some fashion thoroughly document or prove what you take (and don't take), but definitely get legal advice from an attorney representing you before doing anything further.


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