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QUESTION: Can my mother-in-law legally come to my house and take my husband’s things?
“I know laws are different in every state but just looking for advice or comments from anyone who can relate. A year and a half ago, my husband left me; he’s now incarcerated many states away from home. Legally, we are still married. I have our children and have been taking care of them alone for a year and a half. (No child support or anything). He made his mother his power of attorney instead of me, so I have to go through her for different things.
So here’s my issue…when he left, she comes after many of his personal belongings, which was fine it was his stuff. I wasn’t going to keep it from him. But now, a year after he’s been in jail, she wants to come and take other things like the bed, dressers, etc. Saying, ‘He’s gonna need them when he gets out.’ (He won’t be out for almost 20 years).
So my question is, can she just come to take these things? Legally speaking, what can I do to keep her away and to stop her from trying to take what little I have left? Like I said, I know states have different laws, and I have to make some phone calls but just wanted to see if anyone can relate or has any helpful advice! Please no negative comments, I’m dealing with enough stress at the moment. Thanks to all who comment!”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“The way I understand it from my divorce in Florida, it’s abandoned property in some states past a certain timeframe and marital property in others, if you aren’t divorced yet. She has no claim if it is in your house. Most states after 60 days it’s abandoned and therefore, yours to do whatever with. He left it there. That’s on him. Your mother-in-law can’t traipse in your private residence without a court order or your permission. Change the locks and trespass her if she doesn’t want to leave, and file divorce papers.”
“You most likely bought the furniture together and it’s yours as much as his. Your mother-in-law can’t take your furniture.”
“He left his stuff, what did he think you were- free storage. Tell your mother-in-law to get off your property and take you to court, then she can tell the judge she’s trying to take her grandchildren’s beds.”
“Unless she has receipts, your mother-in-law can’t really prove some of those are his. I’d call the police if she tries to take those things like beds and stuff. If it’s like his personal belongings like clothes and accessories, etc, sure.”
“Legally, they are ‘our’ belongings until separated in a court of law. Your mother-in-law has 0 right to take ANYTHING. Not even his personal belongings if you choose to not let her. Do not let her back in your home.”
“Change your locks, contact the police and attorney. You don’t have to allow your mother-in-law in your house and you can ask for a police escort if she wants in. Also I think she has to ask the court to have his belongings if you refuse to give them to her.”
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