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Some of my property is at the house and I want it back. What can I do, since I was served divorce papers?

In Ontario, your spouse is only allowed to dispose of your things if you have clearly abandoned them – and even then, she must first give you a reasonable notice that she intends to get rid of your thing, and a reasonable opportunity for you to go get them.  If these things are not done, and she disposes of your items, then you are correct that you would be in a position to have her criminally charged with theft or mischief.

You should also know that under s. 24(1) of the Ontario Family Law Act, allows a judge to make various orders that impact your matrimonial home and its contents.  If you bring an application for an order of this type, it can solidify your right to get your possessions back.

From among many types available under this section, a judge can make an order: 1) providing for the delivering up, safekeeping and preservation of the matrimonial home and its contents; 2) directing that you be given exclusive possession of the home; 3) directing that the some or all of contents of the home remain there for your Ex’s use; or 4) directing that some or all of the contents be removed from the home and delivered to you for your use, or for the use of any of your children.

In all cases, you should quickly consult a Family lawyer who can take the steps that are right for your situation.

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