Three Divisions. One Firm.
Countless lives changed.

Throwing Away Your Ex’s Stuff During Divorce

Fort Worth Divorce Attorney, serving Tarrant and surrounding counties

Breakups and divorces can be messy affairs, both emotionally and legally. When it comes to dividing property during a divorce, things can get even more complicated. It’s not uncommon for people to wonder if they can simply throw away their ex’s belongings after a split.

So is throwing away your ex’s stuff a good idea?

In short, the answer is no.

During a divorce:

  1. Can I sell my ex’s property?
  2. Can I donate my ex’s property?
  3. Can I throw away my ex’s stuff in Texas?

All of the answers depend on where you are in the divorce process.

Throwing Away Your Ex’s Stuff During Divorce

If divorce paperwork has yet to be filed with the court, nothing prevents you or your partner from doing whatever they want with marital property. Texas is a community property state, which means that all property acquired during the course of the marriage is considered community property. This includes everything from real estate and vehicles to bank accounts and personal belongings. The only property that is not considered community property is separate property, which is property that was owned by one spouse before the marriage or was acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage.

Once the divorce paperwork is filed, however, many Texas counties have standing orders that go into effect restricting how money is spent and the disposing of or selling of property.

That means once divorce proceedings are instigated, the answer to “Can I throw away my ex’s property in Texas?” is no. It could come back to bite you in court.

If you are in need of a divorce attorney, contact the Varghese Summersett Family Law Group.

What should I do if I’m worried about my property during a Texas divorce?

If your county doesn’t have a standing order, your attorney can request a temporary restraining order.

These orders are similar to standing orders, and if requested, they’re usually granted by Texas family law judges.

How does Texas divide marital Property during a divorce?

In general, community property in Texas is any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage.

All property, debts, and income acquired during the marriage are potentially subject to division during a divorce.

To refute this presumption in Texas court, a spouse must show clear and convincing evidence that the Property is separately owned.

What is considered separate property in a Texas divorce?

* Property acquired before marriage
* Property acquired during marriage by gift, devise (will), or descent
* Property acquired during marriage but purchased with separate property funds
* Family Heirlooms

When is a family heirloom no longer your separate property in Texas?

Typically, family heirlooms can easily be shown to be separate Property.
But it’s not always that cut and dried. For instance, if a man gives his bride his grandmother’s wedding ring for sentimental reasons, the ring may no longer be the man’s separate Property.

In fact, the wife could claim it’s now her separate property.
In general, wedding rings belong to the person they were given to and are not typically subject to property division during a Texas divorce.

Discuss such questions about family heirlooms with a skilled Varghese Summersett Family Law Group attorney.

How do I protect my property from an ex in Texas?Throwing Away Your Ex’s Stuff During Divorce

Prevention is the best defense if you’re worried about specific property being sold, destroyed, or otherwise disposed of. Any belongings that hold sentimental or real value should be placed somewhere safe during a divorce so they can’t be thrown out or destroyed.

Items include photographs, framed family photos, inherited heirlooms, financial documents, and any item that can’t be replaced.

A property division attorney will help identify any items you should secure.

Do I have to disclose these items during the divorce in Texas?

Yes, you’ll need to declare the property you have placed in a safe location.

But keeping them safe will prevent them from being thrown away (perhaps unknowingly) or sold at a pawn shop.

What if I don’t have a safe place to store my property in Texas?

If you don’t have time or the options to safely store your property, take an inventory of all your valuables and sentimental items and make a list. Take pictures of the property and note them with dates.

It’s also wise to gather proof that you inherited or owned items before the marriage.

An inventory will protect you if your spouse does something with the property, including preventing them from denying such property existed.

Contact a property division attorney as soon as a divorce is on the table to learn how to protect your property and your rights.

What if my spouse destroyed, sold, or disposed of my property in Texas?

Perhaps you’re not the one asking “Can I trash my ex’s property in Texas?”

Maybe it’s your stuff that got trashed.

If your spouse has disposed of your property, one option is to plead for marital waste. In a 1998 case, the Texas Supreme Court found that the spouses unquestionably owe a fiduciary relationship to each other and the community estate’s management.

If one party can show proof that the property was disposed of or sold by the other party, a claim for reimbursement is possible.
In such cases, judges can ensure the aggrieved spouse is reimbursed for the lost property when deciding how to divide marital property. While this won’t compensate for the anguish of lost heirlooms or old photographs, if an inventory is known to both spouses, it could prevent either from destroying the other’s property.

A judge’s options in such a case include the following:
* Awarding the wronged spouse an appropriate amount of the community property,
* Awarding a monetary judgment in favor of wronged spouse and against the spouse who committed the wrong, or
* Both options.

Are you going through a divorce? Call the Varghese Summersett Family Law Group.

If you’re worried that your spouse is likely to sell, destroy or throw away marital property, you should seek counsel from a top Texas divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The quicker you act, the safer your property will be once a member of the Varghese Summersett Family Law Group gets involved.

For a consultation, call us at 817-900-3220.

Related Articles
Close Icon