Ask LH: Do I Have To Give My Ex His Stuff Back?

My ex left me three years ago. We have now been divorced for two years. Until recently I have heard nothing from him but now he wants his stuff back. What should I do? Honestly, I do not want him here. Thanks, Un-Ex-cited

Free stuff picture from Shutterstock

Dear Un-Ex-cited,

We're not lawyers, but our assumption is that you have no legal obligation here — presumably, any major assets were divided when the divorce was finalised two years ago. It's not reasonable to expect you to hold onto the rest of his junk indefinitely in the off-chance that he might one day return to claim it.

With that said, you probably don't want an angry ex on your back. If you still have his things, maybe arrange to have them dropped off with a third party? That way you won't have to deal with him and everyone is happy.

Before you do this, it's a good idea to check whether his name is still attached to your property, either as a tenant or homeowner. If so, you're not supposed to remove his possessions without permission, even though he isn't living there. (Rubbish and perishable items are excepted.)

If you're planning to chuck out his stuff, definitely notify him first — preferably by email so there’s an electronic record of your correspondence. If he fails to get back to you, most states and territories allow you to dispose of the items after 14 days.

You can find out what your specific rights are in regards to unclaimed property in each state via the following links:

Have any readers ever been in a similar situation? If so, feel free to share your advice with Un-Ex-cited in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    It's pretty simple.

    You just give back what is his! You know what stuff he has! Give it back and be done with it!

    It amazes me after that long that they still have any of his stuff.

    Last break up I had, I'm pretty sure everything was thrown / deleted within the week.

    "he wants his stuff back. What should I do? Honestly"

    You give him the stuff that is his back, if you still have it. You are being a child if you do anything else.

    As little experience I have with this - (None) - It even seems like a bleeding obvious answer depending on the actual circumstances which have remained out of the field of view here:

    * The fact your divorced means the legal obligation is completed - you don't legally have to give him anything.
    * The fact you seem to know its his stuff - out of basic human decency give it back.
    * If however he was a complete moron who was cheating/abusive towards you - burn it or pawn it.

    Easy answers :)

    Turn it around. If you had left, and had left things of yours behind, would you want him to do the right thing by you? You don't have to see him. Just arrange a day where you'll leave his stuff in a box at the door, and he can pick it up when you're not home.

    I would think the answer lies right in the question. It is "his" stuff, and you already acknowledged that. So, let him take it away. Why on earth it would take so long for him to claim it, or for you to hold on to it is another matter entirely.

    He left you three years ago and now wants his stuff back? He sounds like a dick. Tell him you threw it all out years ago.

    He left you - the onus is on him to collect his shit when he leaves.

    I don't get the other "screw him" comments here. You have provided no info on how you parted and add you don't want him at your place, which would apply to any divorce regardless of fault. You also do not say if children are in the mix or not.

    There is one fact and that is he obviously does want his stuff. I can only speculate here on limited data that perhaps it has been painful for him as much as it clearly is for you and this is why 3 years has passed - guys aren't good at the emotional stuff.

    So do the right thing by him and give it back via a mutual contact - friend, workmate, cousin, his parents, even your own parents.

    When you marry, you marry your family with his family. So even when divorced - do the right thing by him!

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