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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27644
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My son's wife has announced this week that she wants a

Customer Question

My son's wife has announced this week that she wants a divorce. She informed him today that she is moving out this weekend from their home. She has rented a 4 bedroom house. Can she legally just take everything to set up a new household? She has already stealthily cleaned out the bank accounts. (Texas)
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your son's situation.

All money in the bank is community property, and each spouse is legally entitled to half of it. If she left nothing, your son can ask a judge to order that she be required to pay him back half of what she took. The same is true of the furniture (other than items one of them owned before the marriage). They can arrange a time and divide it up on their own, but if she simply takes everything, she will be required to pay your son half the value. He is welcome to let her know that, and give her an estimate of what he thinks half the furniture/other items are worth. That might help her see that what she should be doing is setting a time to go through everything with him and deciding who gets what.

If he knows when she's planning to move out, and he's worried that she's going to take everything, he can ask police to come and do a "civil standby" to ensure that things go peacefully. Police won't help them divide their belongings, but it could help avoid an altercation. And it is in his best interests to go through the house now, take pictures of absolutely everything, and make an inventory so he'll know what she took.

If there are items of sentimental value, family heirlooms, or other items that cannot be replaced, he may want to remove them to a secure location until she is gone and the locks have been changed, especially if she is likely to try to take those things just to spite him.

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