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Can I ask the LA Sheriff to help me recover separate property stored on my in-process-ex's premises if he refuses me access?

Los Angeles, CA |

My soon-to-be ex husband refuses to allow me to pick up my sep. property (stored on his premises since before separation). We were scheduled for (divorce) mediation and then trial but the date got vacated by the new calendaring system, so I'm trying to resolve the property issues and settle without trial.

I emailed him to arrange pickup of this property and he refused. I have proof that it was purchased years before the marriage.

Can I ask the Sheriff (or anyone else) to help? Going through his lawyer will be a huge waste of my time and get me nowhere (this has been dragging for three years already).

I appreciate any guidance you can give. If it's not the Sheriff I'm eager to hear any other option.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

As you seem to know, yes, you're entitled to the return of your separate property after you've moved out. If your husband refuses to allow you reasonable access to retrieve your items, then you can call the sheriff and ask whether they will facilitate your retrieval via a "civil standby." Some sheriff's department will do this, some will not, depending on how busy they are.

If the sheriff is no help, then you can get a court order. This is a pretty simple issue, which the family court is very familiar. If you can't afford a lawyer to help you, then you can get free assistance at the "facilitator's" office. You can get more info about such assistance at your local county family court's website.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you for this. The "civil standby" sounds ideal. I will find and call the local LASD Office and ask them. If not, you mention getting a Court Order - Is there a form for this, can I find a sample online, and will it be a Show Up and Ask For It deal or will this Order be the end result of a trial I will need to request? Because when I requested and got the trial the first time, it was set more than a year out. Thank you!

Michael John Apicella

Michael John Apicella

Posted

You don't need to go to a "trial." Rather, the issue is set on the OSC calendar. It typically takes about a month or so for the time you file your motion until the time you get a hearing date. Again, the "facilitator's" office at your local family court can help you fill out the proper forms and file your motion.

Asker

Posted

Thank you. I've done the TSC (three times until the judge finally set it for trial). Is there a form to request setting the issue on the OSC calendar? I've tried the "facilitators" at 111 N Hill more than once, but we have no children/custody issues and that's all they would help with.

Michael John Apicella

Michael John Apicella

Posted

yes, there are specific judicial counsel forms, as well as important to include a declaration. There's no way to properly advise you via this comment section of the website. I'd strongly encourage you to hire a local family law lawyer that can help you draft the forms. By the way, if your husband disputes the characterization of the property in question (i.e., he claims that the property is his separate property or community property), and the two of you can't resolve the issue short of court intervention, then the matter will need to be set on the "trial" calendar; i.e., set for status conference, then settlement conference, and if that doesn't resolve the matter, then trial.

Asker

Posted

Thank you. I understand everything you've said. Ownership is not in dispute for this property (but is for other property, hence my FAM-014 and my getting the now-vacated MSC and trial dates. I understand about the forms and that they need a declaration, but can't afford an attorney. Can you tell me the forms and their respective numbers so I can at least see what I'm up against? Much obliged.

Posted

Going through a lawyer will be a huge wast of money? Really. Your own words "This has been dragging on for 3 years" Seems to suggest that your not equip to make this happen.

Here is your only option, since your ex is being a jerk. You go to court an get a court order. The court would be the divorce court.

Hiring a lawyer would very much benefit you. It would be good for the soul.

The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.

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Asker

Posted

With all due respect (and I appreciate your commenting for free), I DID hire a lawyer when this all started and it was NOT good for the soul. At least not for MY soul. She got a pile of money and I got nothing.

Posted

Without a court order, I'm not sure the Sheriff can help you at this point. If you are unable to communicate or get cooperation from your soon-to-be-ex husband's lawyer it's probably time you hired your own attorney to protect your rights and help you reclaim your property. It would be a shame to end up having your divorce and property issues resolved by way of trial. Once your matter goes to trial, you lose control -- someone else makes the decisions that will effect your future. If you hire your own attorney, your ex's attorney will likely become more cooperative and you may end up resolving the entire case without any further court appearances (other than your mediation).

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