Your marriage imploded rather suddenly, so your exit from the family home wasn’t exactly a “controlled” event with a lot of planning. You took only the bare essentials with you when you moved out.

Now, you’d like to get some of your things. However, your ex is suddenly claiming that half of your record collection is really theirs and that your Nintendo setup actually belongs to the kids. What do you do?

Well, you can’t barge in to the family home and take what you want. However, your ex isn’t entitled to simply keep everything you left behind either. Here are some suggestions about how to handle the problem:

  1. Ask for what you want in writing. Make a list of all the household items that you consider “yours” (along with any jointly-owned items that you’d like as part of the division of marital assets) and give it to your attorney. They can then try to negotiate directly with your ex’s attorney for the items.
  2. Work with your ex on an agreeable division of property. There are bound to be disputed items. You may ultimately have to agree to simply divide up some collections or take turns choosing what you want from the disputed list, one item at a time. That can force you both to prioritize your wants and needs.
  3. Write up an agreement for the exchange. Again, the negotiations may be better handled through your attorney. However, some options include having your ex put everything in storage for you to collect later, asking your ex to allow you to collect everything from the house directly and so on.
  4. Let the judge handle it. This usually isn’t the best option, but it is a “last resort” when your ex isn’t willing to play fair or be reasonable. The judge can rule on how all the household items are to be split and make it an official court order.

Dividing up the household items and getting your personal property back after a split should be easy — but it doesn’t always work that way. Your attorney can often help you find solutions that will keep your divorce process on track and let you move forward faster.