My wife moved out of our marital house. Can I consider her personal items abandoned?

Full Question:

My wife moved out of our marital house 10-26-2015. She has left most of her personal items here since then. WE are working on a property settlement. However, there are many items that she has left here that are not on the list. She has access to the house 15 hours a week, but has not been here for over 3 months. Can any of this property be considered abandoned? Not that I necessarily want her property, but use as a bargaining tool
04/20/2017   |   Category: Abandoned Property   |   State: Nebraska   |   #35998

Answer:

If the left out personal items of your wife are not included in the list of personal items identified in the property settlement agreement you are working with her, it may not be considered as her property after divorce because the agreement will be incorporated into your divorce decree. There may not be any abandoned property as such in this case as it is a marital dispute involving husband and wife. The law related to personal property presumed abandoned comes under a landlord tenant relation.
 
“A dissolution decree which approves and incorporates into the decree the parties' property settlement agreement is a judgment of the court itself.” Rice v. Webb, 287 Neb. 712, 712, 844 N.W.2d 290, 293 (2014). “A district court, in the exercise of its broad jurisdiction over marriage dissolutions, retains jurisdiction to enforce all terms of approved property settlement agreements.” Id.
“Divorce: Property Settlement Agreements: Intent. If the dissolution decree and any property settlement agreement incorporated therein manifest the parties' intent to relinquish all property rights, then such agreement should be given that effect.” Id.

You can have a look at the relevant law related to abandoned property in this regard below.

Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 69-1310

(a) Every person holding funds or other property, tangible or intangible, presumed abandoned under the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act shall report to the State Treasurer with respect to the property as hereinafter provided.
(b) The report shall be verified and shall include:
(1) Except with respect to traveler's checks and money orders, the name, if known, and last-known address, if any, of each person appearing from the records of the holder to be the owner of any property presumed abandoned under the act;
(2) In case of unclaimed funds of life insurance corporations, the full name of the insured or annuitant and his or her last-known address according to the life insurance corporation's records;
(3) The nature and identifying number, if any, or description of the property and the amount appearing from the records to be due, except that items of less than twenty-five dollars may be reported in the aggregate;
(4) The date when the property became payable, demandable, or returnable, and the date of the last transaction with the owner with respect to the property; and
(5) Other information which the State Treasurer may prescribe by rule as necessary for the administration of the act.
(c) If the person holding property presumed abandoned is a successor to other persons who previously held the property for the owner, or if the holder has changed his or her name while holding the property, he or she shall file with his or her report all prior known names and addresses of each holder of the property.
(d) The report shall be filed before November 1 of each year as of June 30 next preceding, but the report of life insurance corporations shall be filed before May 1 of each year as of December 31 next preceding. A one-time supplemental report shall be filed by life insurance corporations with regard to property subject to section 69-1307.05 before November 1, 2003, as of December 31, 2002, as if section 69-1307.05 had been in effect before January 1, 2003. The property must accompany the report unless excused by the State Treasurer for good cause. The State Treasurer may postpone the reporting date upon written request by any person required to file a report.
(e) If the holder of property presumed abandoned under the act knows the whereabouts of the owner and if the owner's claim has not been barred by the statute of limitations, the holder shall, before filing the annual report, communicate with the owner and take necessary steps to prevent abandonment from being presumed. The holder shall exercise due diligence to ascertain the whereabouts of the owner.
(f) Verification, if made by a partnership, shall be executed by a partner; if made by a limited liability company, by a member; if made by an unincorporated association or private corporation, by an officer; and if made by a public corporation, by its chief fiscal officer.

Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 69-1321 - Abandoned property; State Treasurer; decline to accept; when; other payments or delivery authorized
 
(a) The State Treasurer, after receiving reports of property deemed abandoned pursuant to the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act, may decline to receive any property reported which he or she deems to have a value less than the cost of giving notice and holding sale, or he or she may, if he or she deems it desirable because of the small sum involved, postpone taking possession until a sufficient sum accumulates. Unless the holder of the property is notified to the contrary within one hundred twenty days after filing the report required under section 69-1310, the State Treasurer shall be deemed to have elected to receive the custody of the property.
 
(b) A holder may pay or deliver property before the property is presumed abandoned with written consent of the State Treasurer and upon conditions and terms prescribed by the State Treasurer. Property paid or delivered under this subsection shall be held by the State Treasurer and is not presumed abandoned until such time as it otherwise would be presumed abandoned under the act.
 
 
 

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