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Help! My Ex Is Keeping All My Stuff!

As San Bernardino divorce lawyers, we hear it too often: “My ex is holding all my stuff hostage!”

It’s too bad that people will resort to this type of behavior, and while it is a bump in the road, it doesn’t mean you’ll never see your belongings again.

That said, one of the most important things you need to do before you attempt to get your belongings back from your ex is talk to your San Bernardino divorce attorney.

Moving Out of Your Marital Home

Before you move, your lawyer will probably advise you to create a plan. He or she might suggest that you find a new place to live and fully prepare your budget before moving out. If you have to leave your marital home in a hurry, particularly if you’re the victim of domestic violence, you may not have the luxury of making a detailed plan first – and in that case, your lawyer can help you prepare a plan that includes a way to get your belongings back safely, without putting yourself at risk.

You Can Catch More Flies with Honey…

Sometimes arranging a peaceful trade is the best way to get your belongings back intact. If you have anything that belongs to your ex, let him or her know you’ll be happy to swap at the earliest convenient time.

Try to avoid fighting. If you can’t get your ex to budge, call your lawyer and ask if there is legal recourse that will force the return.

Never enter your ex’s home—even if it’s still your home—to “steal” your stuff back; that could have unintended consequences. If necessary, your attorney can help you arrange an exchange in a public place or with the help of the police. Every case is different, so even though friends and family may have good intentions, it’s not always a good idea to listen to their advice.