Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
My soon-to-be ex-husband sold items belonging to my children and I without our consent or approval. His attorney requested a list of items we wanted just last week. What are my legal options? Also, the house is up for short sale and I found out that my in-laws are living there free. They altered the interior for their needs, i.e. they put up doors and such. What can I do?
In regard to your husband selling your belongings, you can request for him to pay you the monetary value of the goods, replace the goods, or return them into your possession. If he fails to do so, then you may be able to seek legal recourse in small claims court for the value of your goods. In regard to him taking your children’s belongings, you can sue on behalf of your children to get their property back; however, please note, the court will seek to foster the relationship between the child and parent and likely suggest some type of mutual settlement regarding the return of the property if the court deems it to belong to your children.
In regard to your in-laws, if you live in a community property state in which you are the owner of one-half interest in the home, then you may be able to sue for one-half of the fair market rental value (what your in-laws should have rented the house for) between the time that they moved in and the house is sold, if your ex-husband still lives there with them. If he doesn’t then you can request a landlord/tenant agreement with your in-laws or evict them from your residence if they do not comply to such an agreement. You can also sue them for any damages sustained as a result of the eviction if your state law permits.