Personal Property Recovery

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Personal Property Recovery

I was arrested just over 18 months ago. I was given a small window to gather my belongings and was issued a no contact with my ex. I abide by my probation of no contact and probation is now over. I have e-mailed my ex about getting the remainder of my personal belongings, school yearbooks, etc. Things that cannot be replaced. She had replied via e-mail,

Asked on May 13, 2017 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only way to retrieve them would be to file a lawsuit against her. (Before doing this, consult with an attorney to make sure that suing her will not violate the terms of any court or no-contact orders).
There are two options: the easier, faster, cheaper one is to sue her for the value of the items, possibly in small claims court. The problem, though, is that the courts do not provide compensation for emotional or sentimental value--only actual economic value. So  all you can sue for is the monetary value of these items, not what they mean to you, and so if that value is low enough, she could resolve the matter by paying you that small economic value rather than by actually returning the things.
Or you could file a lawsuit in regular county court (it must be regular court, not small claims) seeking a court order requiring her to return the specific items:  a court can specifically order her to do this. But lawsuits seeking court orders are more expensive, slower, and procedurally more complex than small claims cases for monetary compensation, so this is a larger undertaking--and it still won't help if the items were disposed of or lost or destroyed, since a court order cannot undo that.


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