How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq. , Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26742
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Lucy, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Shortly before our separation, my husband and I moved in with

Resolved Question:

Shortly before our separation, my husband and I moved in with my parents, putting all of our belongings in storage. When we split, my husband went to live with his relatives. He refused to come get his things from the house and storage unit, so finally I packed his separate property, and a few items of community property, and drove it all out to him.

Our community property is still in storage, along with my separate property. From the start, he's refused to pay any part of the storage bills, which by now have probably exceeded the value of the stored property. He also refuses to help pay our credit card debt, all of which is in my name. The amount of debt is far greater than the value of our community property, but he's trying to claim that me keeping the debt and the property makes us all even!

My questions: 1) Is the community property still half his, or did he lose his half, by not paying the storage fees? Normally, if you fail to pay for your storage unit, you lose your property... 2) Can I force him to pay me half the storage costs so far incurred, even if he's no longer interested in this community property? 3) What is the effect of my separate property being stored in the same unit? (He claims the storage of community property is "free," because I'd be paying for storage anyway, for my separate property.)
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 years ago.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

1. It's still half his. He can't forfeit his half of the community property unless he specifically says that he doesn't want it any more. However, the storage fees are a community debt, and the judge can order him to pay you half the fees from his share of the community property.

2. You can ask the judge to order him to pay all of the fees prior to the date that he decided that he didn't want the items anymore. If you don't want them, either, and you can't sell them for enough to cover his half of the storage fees, you can still ask the judge to award half of the community property to your husband - I'm not sure what types of items you're talking about, so it may or may not benefit him to just give everything to you.

3. The debt is a community debt, because the unit is being used to pay for community property, and was initially being used to pay for his separate property. You could just as easily say that you only put your separate property into the unit because you needed to rent it to hold the community property. The judge isn't going want to spend a lot of time listening to that. If you tell him what's in the unit, he should just divide the costs unless you're talking about a large unit, or which 90% is your personal items.

If you're talking about filing a motion for costs using FL-301, since it doesn't fit any of the other options, that's an "other" motion. However, FL-300 has replaced both 301 and 310. That's why you're not able to find the 310. Here is the new form, with the instructions:

Please rate my service before signing out, as this is the only way that I get credit for the time I spend helping you. I hope that you are 100% satisfied - if not, please click "reply" so that we may continue the conversation. Good luck.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi, Thanks for your response! I'm just wondering about your statement that "a judge could order him to pay all of the fees prior to the date that he decided that he didn't want the items anymore." And also, the statement that "he can't forfeit his half of the community property unless he specifically says that he doesn't want it any more."

He could say he "decided" that at any time... what would be acceptable (or unacceptable) ways for him to have established that "officially?" He's made remarks in texts or emails about how I've "got everything," that make it sound like he feels all the stuff is mine now. It's true that I have the only key, but I've made it clear that he can have access immediately once he's current on the storage bills. And in those same messages of his, he keeps referring to the items as "our" stuff...

Will he have to prove that we did formally decide the stuff was no longer any part his, or will I have to convince a judge that I wasn't aware of his wish to relinquish his claim to half of it?

Thanks! I will rate you as having given excellent service. Thanks for the new forms, too.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Oops - one more thing: at what point could I submit form FL-300? I've filed my petition for divorce, but am waiting to see if he files a response, and neither of us have exchanged preliminary disclosures yet. Thanks.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Really, to show that he gave up his rights to the stuff, you would need something signed by both of you where he agrees to give up the items and, in exchange, you agree to do something. If he says, "I'm giving you all the stuff because I don't want to pay the storage fees," you don't have to accept it. Avoiding storage fees isn't like calling who gets to ride in the front seat of the car.

If you haven't done the property disclosure yet, you can just list the storage debt as a community debt, and list the property in there as community property. There's space on the form for that. The motion would be for a situation where you wanted the money for the storage fees immediately, before the case was finalized. One example would be if you can't afford to pay the fees, and you wanted the money to avoid having the items forfeited to the storage facility, or you were looking for permission to sell the items and apply the proceeds to the storage fees, to protect your credit.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So, here's where I get confused. I can't afford to pay these storage fees, but since I'm not willing to forfeit my/our stuff, I've been adding the storage costs to my credit card debt, where it will accumulate finance charges forever... But I can't list it as an outstanding debt on the disclosure forms, right? Even though that's exactly what it is, really, since I didn't pay the charge, I just transferred it. So in order to stop the finance charges, could I file this as a motion?

The other issue is that in the end, he may not end up paying me ANYTHING he owes me toward our debt, because of my retirement account that he'll get half of. So would doing this as a motion, now, potentially be a way of making him pay cash, now, rather than having it just be a line on the balance sheet when the settlement is finally done? THAT would be nice...!

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
It's still a joint debt, even if you're paying it with your personal credit card, essentially to avoid having your credit ruined and your belongings forcibly taken and sold. If you need the money now, you can file it now - explain to the judge exactly why and how you have been paying, and ask him to order your husband to contribute at least to the charges that accumulated before you gave him his stuff. You're allowed to say something like, "The Petitioner respectfully XXXXX XXXXX court to order the judge to pay $X to represent 50% of the storage charges as of DATE, plus 50% of the charges going forward. In the alternative, Petitioner requests that the respondent be ordered to pay $Y, to represent charges incurred as of DATE." That way, the judge can look and make his own decision regarding which is appropriate.

If you need the money now, to keep from losing all of your stuff, you can ask for it now. That way, he'll still get 50% of your retirement account when the time comes, rather than 50% - his share of the storage costs. The judge has some discretion, but your request is reasonable.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26742
Experience: Attorney with experience in family law.
Lucy, Esq. and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It seems a bit disrespectful for me to ask the court to order the judge to pay me anything -- are you sure this approach will work...? ha ha - j/k - I know, it's a typo... Thanks very much for the not-legal-advice. Very helpful!
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
:-) Oops! I'm glad you caught that. Sorry. I'm glad I could help.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
< Previous | Next >
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Ely


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
< Last | Next >
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • LawTalk's Avatar


    Attorney and Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
  • Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
  • Tina's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
  • P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons


    Satisfied Customers:

    16 yrs. of experience including family law.
  • Barrister's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Attorney with 15 years experience
  • AttorneyTom's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers: