Just started divorce proceedings with a paralegal. While I was out of the home, my current wife went into my personal jewelry box and took the wedding set I have been making payments on (she doesn't work) and that is in MY name with Kay Jewelers. I did not give her permission to remove these 2 pieces from the home. She had returned them when she left the first time. Together these 2 pieces are worth over $3,000.00. She took them so that I wouldn't file the papers with the courthouse until her custody paperwork goes through for her son. The stipulation for this is, she is married and living out of state -- since she isn't residing with me anymore and I don't know where she is residing, is this fraud? grand theft? Please advise and thanks.
Criminal Defense Attorney
I'm not sure it's grand theft or burglary if she used to live there and there isn't an explicit court order, etc., giving you sole possession of the home during the divorce proceedings. Is her name on the deed to the house? I ask ebcause you can't burglarize somethign you have the right to enter. And what about the wedding set, it is a pair of rings? Were they purchased during the court of the marriage or before the marriage? If during the course of the marriage, then that jewelry is marital property. If before the marriage, then it's not marital property. But even if not marital property, the ring may belong to her if it was given to her as a gift before the marriage. Gifts exchanged during the course of the marriage are also marital property. If you have already filed for divorce and your wife was already served with the divorce papers prior to her going into the home, you may be able to have her held in contempt if the adminstrative order attached to the divorce papers was violated by her removing belongings from the home.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
Yes, you definitely need an attorney and you may need a police report, depending upon the advise received from the attorney. That advice may vary according to the particular facts and your objectives. Do you really want to have her arrested?
The ring could be considered to be stolen property if it had unconditionally given back to you. It might also be considered to be marital property and subject to distribution via the divorce proceeding. Her unauthorized entry into your residence could be a "burglary" if she no longer had the right to enter and did so with the intent to commit an offense. As I mentioned before, you need to talk with a marital lawyer.
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