Divorce & Annulment

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Question: I left home with few belongings because of domestic abuse. I obtained an order of protection,which he has violated,been arrested for & released. Husband filed for divorce listing my separate things to be mine. No other divisions of property was mentioned. They are at the house, house in his name, he changed the locks, can I get them with police escort now or must I wait til the divorce is final? Who would contact him about my coming? I am not planning on responding to summons.He is saying that he will dispose of all things if I do not remove them right away as he wants them out of his house.

Answer: First, it is a serious (and probably irreversible) mistake not to answer the summons, unless you are prepared to let a judge give your husband *everything* that he asked for in the divorce petition. Your question did not mention if minor children are involved (which would make ignoring his petition even more dangerous), but even if it's just a question of finances, you could be walking away from thousands of dollars in which you otherwise would have had a legal interest. You may ultimately prioritize your safety or peace of mind over financial support, but that's a decision you should make carefully because there is no going back and changing your mind later. Second, your question does not indicate whether the order of protection grants you possession of the home. If it does, you should show the police your order and have him removed. If it doesn't, you will have to file an answer to his divorce petition and - with it - a motion asking for the right to remove your belongings with police (or other third-party) assistance. Third, do *not* - under any circumstances - try to go over there alone. Not only do you risk your own safety, but you undermine your own claim (in the protective order) that he needs to stay away from you. No one will take you seriously later on if you do something like that now.

QUESTIONS

  • I left home with few belongings because of domestic abuse. I obtained an order of protection,which he has violated,been arrested for & released. Husband filed for divorce listing my separate things to be mine. No other divisions of property was mentioned. They are at the house, house in his name, he changed the locks, can I get them with police escort now or must I wait til the divorce is final? Who would contact him about my coming? I am not planning on responding to summons.He is saying that he will dispose of all things if I do not remove them right away as he wants them out of his house.

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