LawTalk Blog

Got home tonight and my ex has taken all the furniture

Got home tonight and my ex has taken all the furniture

For the Mad Men fans!

This is for all the Mad Men fans out there. Do you remember episode 9, season 7?

Here’s a little refresher on how that scene went down

Megan and Don had separated and Megan and her mother, Marie went to Don's apartment to collect the items Megan was to retain as part of the property settlement.

Megan had to leave so Marie stayed behind to finish the job.

Marie stays on and does more than just finish she job; she packs up not only Megan’s things but also all of Don’s furniture. Needless to say, Don wasn't impressed when he got home that that evening. He thought the million dollar payout to Megan was more than enough. 

So what does Family Law say about former partners behaving badly?

Actions similar to Marie’s are commonly carried out by disgruntled ex-partners after separation. Generally one party will plan to leave and take items from the home without the other party’s presence or consent.

Or the party who has already left the former relationship home will continue to return to the home while the other party is not there and take items without the other party's consent.

In acrimonious matters, one party can go to the extent of removing all items from the home so that the other party is left with nothing or they remove specific items which clearly or knowingly belong to the other party to deliberately cause distress or inconvenience; everyday essential items, gifts or sentimental items. 

Where parties have separated, the division of furniture and effects are to be divided as part of the overall property settlement. In many cases people are able to agree between themselves as to who keeps what.

There are however cases where agreement simply cannot be reached or where a party unilaterally decides to take items and then refuse to return them. Either way, the items retained, or taken, by one or the other party are taken into account in the overall property settlement. 

So basically, you can’t take everything and think no-one will notice or it won’t be considered in the final property settlement.

If you are in a situation where your ex-partner has removed items from the relationship home after separation without your consent, you should contact the Police and report the incident. You should then contact one of our Family Law specialists to obtain advice about your options and, specifically for assistance with your property settlement to ensure your interests are fully protected.

It’s worth noting that even though we recommend you contact the Police, it is often unlikely that they will retrieve any items removed by the other party. The Police will often tell you to contact a Family Lawyer to obtain urgent legal advice. 

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Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia by Andersons Solicitors. It relates to Australian Federal legislation. Andersons Solicitors is a medium sized law firm servicing metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia across all areas of law for individuals and businesses.

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