Greenville, RI asked in Civil Rights, Domestic Violence and Small Claims for Texas

Q: My ex has been destructive and abusive but I have no “proof” in Texas. What can I do legally to hold her accountable

I’ve lost thousands of dollars in property because in Texas “she’s allowed to break my things.” Including a laptop that I used for school and to support my livelihood through a small business. I’ve been displaced without a home or job, forced to abandon my car and property and fly to the other side of the country to sleep on a friends couch. She is in the military and has painted the picture of her as the victim to her superiors so I am unable to hold her accountable through her command, we are not married. At this point I just want one box located in a storage unit only she has access to. It’s irreplaceable. I’ve already cut my losses enough as is, I just want this one box.

1 Lawyer Answer
Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: If you are not married then your stuff I not legally her stuff too, and therefore she commits the offense of Criminal Mischief if she decides to break it without your consent. That said, law enforcement isn't usually going to make an arrest in a situation like that unless (1) it is reported immediately and (2) they feel the need to temporarily physically separate the arguing couple for safety reasons but have no other grounds to justify an arrest.

As for the box of stuff, it doesn't sound like she committed a crime by retaining possession so, if she will not voluntarily return it, then your best course of action might be a civil case in small claims court. Cases like that are outside my area of expertise but I believe it would need to be filed in the Justice of the Peace Court in the precinct where the property is located or where she resides... and that means you would have to return to Texas for any court dates.

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