Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Missouri

Q: If both party's have joint property can he or she pick up personal stuff when the other is not there?

Say one is at work and it takes a week to move out?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kristen Thurmond
Kristen Thurmond
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: This answer depends on where the personal property is located and if both parties have legal rights to enter the real property used as the marital residence. The two types of property are important and distinct. Personal property is the household goods, furniture, vehicles, bank accounts, electronics, clothes, etc., that a person owns. Real property is real estate such as a house, apartment, condo, townhome, vacant lot, land, etc. If only one party owns the real property, then the only recourse of the other party is to request it back in the divorce proceeding. If both parties own the real property or are on the lease or rental agreement (without the other party illegally evicting them) then both parties have a right to enter and use the real property. That would mean both parties can come get personal property at any time if they are moving out or even if they have been moved out for a few weeks or months. It becomes murkier and less clear the longer it takes the person who has moved out to get personal property from a residence the longer he or she has left the residence. This is why the court has clients fill out assets and debts statements indicating personal property in each person's possession. The sooner you fill it out, the better memory you'll have of what property is present. A lot of attorneys will advise people to take pictures of property, too. That way if something gets damaged, you can show what it is supposed to look like, what or how it was damaged, and, possibly, who damaged it.

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