Enforcing the Return of Property after your Divorce

It’s somewhat common for divorce agreements to include instructions for one spouse to transfer certain property to the other. However, after the divorce is finalized, you may find that your former spouse is not compliant with the settlement and refuses to relinquish your property.

Taking legal action

When your former spouse refuses to release items into your possession, you have the option of taking legal action. Filing a replevin will call a hearing between you, your spouse and a local judge. During the course of hearing, each partner will present his or her case, and the court will decide how to move forward. If the judge rules in your favor, a member of local law enforcement will seize the item from your spouse’s possession.

Additionally, if your spouse refuses to give you property agreed upon in your settlement, you may choose to file an action stating that your spouse is in contempt of court. When an individual violates a court order, such as a divorce agreement, they may face significant fines or even imprisonment if they do not comply.

Legal documentation

If, after ongoing efforts, your spouse has decided to return your property — or if you are handing over items to your spouse — it is always in your best interest to attempt to secure a signed receipt. By having your spouse sign a document noting that the item was transferred, it eliminates all possibility that he or she may claim that items were not returned properly.

If your former partner refuses to sign a receipt, have a friend, family member or neighbor serve as a witness to the exchange. Should you have a concern for your safety during the transfer, you can call a local police department and ask if they can send an officer to the meeting.

An experienced attorney will also provide assistance with enforcing divorce decrees related to property. For further guidance, reach out to a trusted Long Island divorce lawyer with Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.


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