He refuses to acknowledge any of my attempts to contact him and insist on holding my piece of furniture hostage! We were living together for awhile and I had many other pieces of furniture, as well as the usual personal items that I was able to take without too much problem. Without question, this piece of furniture was 100% bought and paid by me, so I don't understand his insistance on not letting me get it!! I don't want to force the situation by stepping foot on his property and making matters worse. I'm sure it would get very ugly!! Should I go to the local police and ask for help to actually go to his house? Is there a legal document that needs to be served to him in this case? It seems to me that he thinks if he just holds out long enough that I will give up and let him keep my piece of furniture!!
Surprise answer, but you probably should hire a lawyer! :) The police are unlikely to resolve this dispute. He'll claim it is his, and they're not going to be in a position to force him to let you take the furniture back.
Call a lawyer and ask them about getting a "writ of replevin" A writ is an Old English word that essentially means "Order" A writ of replevin is an order regarding ordering the return of possession of personal property.
So here's how it works, your attorney files a replevin action and applies for a writ of repleving. Your ex is given notice and notified of his right to object to any potentional order. If he fails to object, the court will grant the order. If he objects, a hearing is held to determine whether your ex is in lawful possession of the furniture. If not, the court will grant the order.
The writ is given to the sheriff's office who then goes to your ex's property, lawfully enters the property for the sole purpose of removing the furniture and delivering it to you. If your ex interferes, he faces contempt of court.
Now, I should warn you that there's a legal distinction between possession and ownership. When you say you 100% bought and paid for it, I assume it means that it was paid for out of an account in your name only and was not bought, at the time, intending it to be a gift to him.
So, again, this is why you need to talk to a lawyer. Good luck!