At what point are belongings considered abandoned?


#1

My STBX has been out of the house for almost 2.5 year and has yet to sign a SE. Most of their belongings are still in the home that I have been maintaining 100% on my own and with no child support (2 children). At what point can the spouses belongings be considered abandoned making them eligible for me to sell them (tools, guns, etc)? These items were purchased during the marriage.
Thank you.


#2

There is no set date or rule for when property is considered abandoned. If he won’t sign a separation agreement and you have assets and debts that need to be divided, you will need to file an action for equitable distribution. If you have disposed of his personal effects without his permission, the court may use this as a distributional factor against you. If you have no other assets to divide, you should file for divorce and notify him to come get his belongings or you will dispose of them. If your divorce is finalized without either party having an equitable distribution claim pending, the property is then held as titled. If you dispose of his property, his only recourse would be to file something against you in regular civil court or small claims court. If you can show that he was put on notice that you were going to dispose of the property, I doubt that he would attempt to get damages from you in court or if he tried to get damages, that he would be very successful.