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Is it ever too late to retreive my household items and personals that were granted in the final divorce decree?

Redmond, OR |

It took two long years before our divorce was finalized. I moved out quickly because of the restraining order I had filed prior to my ex filing for the dissolution. After papers were finalized by the judge, I contacted my ex to pick up my belongs. He told me, with a smug on his face, I couldn't have them because I waited to long to get them. I didn't want to fight anymore. And once I thought it through, didn't want to bring another disturbance into our childrens life by insisting on removing things that would bring them comfort. That was seven years ago. It's like walking into a time warp in my old home. By the way, the items I requested were gifts received by my folks as gifts. Now his fiance has moved in and I would enjoy having my things back. What do I need to do?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

In addition to suggestions from other counsel on this board, another option that is available is to contact an attorney for purposes of obtaining what is called a Writ of Assistance. If you have a judgement that awards you items, you are entitled to them. However, unless the person is going to give your belongings up voluntarily, the court can order a police officer to assist in retrieving the items. Be prepared to explain, as other counsel have indicated, why you have waited so long to retrieve them. While you may have a right to retrieve the items, a judge may be somewhat reluctant to sign a Writ based upon a judgment from so long ago. It cannot hurt to ask.

Some counties have forms for a Writ of Assistance. However, you would probably be best served by finding a reputable attorney in your county to assist you with filling them out. Given the length of time, you will probably want to make the supporting affidavit fairly comprehensive explaining the circumstances. Best of luck.

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You could file a motion to enforce the divorce judgment. Seven years is an awfully long time to wait, though. By this time, your ex-husband could argue that you had abandoned your property, and lost the title to it. You might be able to counter-argue that you only abandoned it because he had intimidated you. There is also the risk, of course, that after all this time, he's gotten rid of it all. You should consult with an attorney to determine how to proceed, and whether it's still worth your while.

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Failure to commence an action to claim these items would probably bar recovery. However, since you already have a judgment for these items, you may be able to enforce that judgment. I suggest you contact your original attorney (or any family law attorney) and see what can be done (if the items are of sufficient importance to justify the battle).

This comment is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship and obviously is not confidential. You should contact an attorney in your area who can review with you all of the relevant facts and give you specific legal advice.