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.
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.
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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