Can My Wife Destroy My Personal Property Without Recourse Since We’re Married?

pittsburgh divorce lawyer jana palkoQuestion:

I recently discovered that my wife destroyed some of my personal property after we filed for divorce.

Is my personal property considered marital assets because we are married, and thus she is allowed to destroy them?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Definitions of marital property differ state to state. Generally speaking, items acquired during the marriage are marital property, and are thus subject to division by agreement or by the court.

There are exceptions to this, such as if an item was gifted to you by a third party or if you purchased an item during the marriage with non-marital funds.

Regardless of whether the property is marital, she should not be destroying it, unless it is a situation where you were given opportunity to obtain it and you did not do so, and she reasonably thought you did not want it.

As far as immediate action, if there are no orders in your case with regard to non-dissipation of property (meaning selling, destroying, liquidating, encumbering, etc., of property), you may want to seek one.

You can ask that not only should property not be dissipated but also for an accounting of what may have already been dissipated. Bear in mind, though, that often these orders are mutual, so it will tie your hands as well as hers.

If you do have such an order, you would want to look into contempt of that order, showing proof of what she has done, and asking for relief, i.e., attorney fees for having to bring the contempt charge.

Long term, in the division of your property, you would want to ask that a credit be given for whatever was dissipated meaning you would need values for the dissipated property and proof that she destroyed it.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer Jana Palko, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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