If a spouse moves out can they take marital property with them?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2011

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If a spouse moves out can they take marital property with them?

We have not even begun paperwork for divorce and my wife has moved out and pretty much taken everything out of the house. Is that legal for her to do before we have even agreed on who gets what?

Asked on July 25, 2011 Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Technically it is legal for the spouse who is moving out of the home you are sharing with her taking personal items that belong to the marital community and her own separate property. Items that are your own separate property should not be taken by her since they are not hers, they are yours.

The way any disputed items that belong to the marital community taken by your wife is resolved is typically done by way of a written settlement agreement and order from the court in a dissolution proceding. The husband and wife hopefully agree upon which items each receive and those that they cannot agree upon end up getting fought over.

Good luck.

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