How to Protect Your Property During Your Divorce


A messy Pasadena divorce can bring out the worst in people, so it's smart to think about precautions you can take to ensure that your spouse does not damage any of your property while the details of your settlement are still being worked out.

In a court of law, information is power. You should complete a detailed, written inventory of the items in your home as soon as possible. Photos of valuables or a video inventory of the contents of each room can also be helpful in documenting what property needs to be divided during the divorce. Move all of your personal possessions to a safe location as quickly as possible to prevent your spouse from damaging or selling your property.

Both spouses have an equal right to items classified as marital property, so it's not illegal to remove items from the home that belong to both you and your spouse. However, you should be aware that you might be ordered to give these items back to your spouse at a later date. For this reason, you should never sell anything that could potentially be considered marital property before your divorce is finalized.

If you are remaining in the marital home and your spouse has moved out, keep in mind that he or she has a legal right to return at any time before the divorce is final unless you have a court order to the contrary. This means that your spouse could legally hire a locksmith to gain entry to the home even if you've already had all the locks changed.

If something was given to you as a gift, try to get written proof of the gift from the person who gave the item to you. Having written proof prevents your spouse from claiming that the item was given to the both of you and should thus be considered marital property. The written proof of the gift should be as detailed as possible, mentioning the date and circumstances of the gift as well as the condition of the item at the time you received it.

When it comes to personal documents such as tax returns and bank account statements, the best course of action is to photocopy everything. Your lawyer may need these documents to prepare your case.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of legal representation during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our experienced Pasadena divorce attorneys can help answer any questions that you might have about how California's community property laws will affect your settlement.