Skip to main content

After 17 years, can my mother legally dispose of my father's tools without worry of him filing suit?

Milwaukee, WI |
Filed under: Divorce

My mother is moving and wanted my father to pick up his tools that were left at the house after he moved out. The have been divorced for 17 years. He’s threatening to sue if she disposes his items before he can get them but she is moving very soon. What is her responsibility for these items?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Actually the tools are hers to do what she will with them. When a divorce is final it is expected by the court that each party has already gotten what they have comming to them. If not it must be specifically written out what it is and when it must be obtained by. After that, each owns what is in their possession. The exception of course is titled items like cars, motorcycles, and land...

    So, if he has had 17 years to get it and he hasn't that is just too bad.

    Besides he would have to come get her in the new state, he isn't going to do that.

    Might I suggest that you give them to someone both of you know, and if he doesn't come get them then he can yell at them.

    Good Luck with the move.

    WALWORTH, ROCK and JEFFERSON County Divorce/Family Law Attorney - Atty Richard Missimer does answer questions on Avvo strictly to be helpful but these do not constitute legal advice. These answers do not establish an attorney/client relationship. If you would like my help and are within my practice area, contact me at (262)565-8200 for a FREE CONSULTATION.


  2. Yes. Absolutely no problem whatsoever with that. Don't let him bully her.


  3. Even if he was awarded the tools in the divorce, too many years have gone by evidencing and abandonment of the propery. Under the equitable doctrines of laches and estoppel, he would have a very hard time proving a continuing duty on the part of your mother to safeguard and return the tools. It would have been better if she had not contacted him asking him to come and get the tools as she apparently did very recently. I don't think that changes her right to move forward and treat the property as abandoned and belonging to her. If the matter persists, she could also have a claim against him for the reasonable cost of storing and preserving the items. Considering the amount of time, she would probably have more coming to her from him than the property is worth.

Divorce topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics