Other Family Issues

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Question: What to do with an exwife that has not followed the judge orders on the separation of goods after the divorece was done. She is still taking money from my account,she has taken things from my home, how can I get her out of my life and make her return all the money and goods she has taken afte the divorce?

Answer:

Your question presents a mix of legal issues, some of which do not really involve family law. First, if your ex-wife has stolen money from your account (or property from your home), then you should consider calling the police and reporting a burglary and theft. (Certainly you should change the locks on your residence, and the access passwords at your financial institutions!) Unless the divorce decree gave your ex-wife certain rights of access to your home and bank accounts, she has no more right to plunder them than does your neighbor.

Second, her actions may also justify a tort action for trespass and conversion of property. You should consult with a personal injury lawyer or other attorney who specializes in these types of civil claims. Such a case might involve either small claims court or - if the value of property stolen was steep enough - mandatory arbitration and/or a full-fledged jury trial in superior court.

Third, you *may* be able to ask the family law judge to take certain steps to level the playing field in light of what has happened. Your question is a little foggy on the issue of whether your ex-wife has not only removed items from your home following the judgment, but also refused to surrender property that she *already possessed* (because the divorce judge ordered it). If the latter is true, then you should consider a motion for civil contempt and sanctions under Family Law Rule 92.  

The Family Law Rule 92 gives the trial judge wide latitude in deciding what measures to take for repairing the problem. For example, if the court previously ordered you to pay spousal maintenance, you might be able to ask the judge to lower or cancel those payments as compensation for what you have lost. (If the case was resolved by settlement, rather than trial, and you and your ex-wife agreed that the spousal maintenance could not be modified, that may cause a problem. But it's still worth looking into.) Or the judge could direct your wife to surrender some other property that otherwise she could have kept. You really should consider a full consultation with a family law attorney as soon as possible concerning the option of a motion for sanctions. It sounds like you have a lot going on, and things could grow complicated in a real hurry.

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QUESTIONS

  • What to do with an exwife that has not followed the judge orders on the separation of goods after the divorece was done. She is still taking money from my account,she has taken things from my home, how can I get her out of my life and make her return all the money and goods she has taken afte the divorce?

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