How long a person has to keep his ex-wife's property by law?

Full Question:

I am divorced. How long do I have to keep my ex-wife's property by law?
05/28/2017   |   Category: Abandoned Property   |   State: Arkansas   |   #38006

Answer:

Generally, at the time a divorce decree is entered the court will distribute all marital property by one-half to each party. All other property shall be returned to the party who owned it prior to the marriage unless the court shall make some other division that the court deems equitable.

In your case, you have to keep your ex-wife’s property for 30 days before it is considered abandoned. You have to send a notice by certified mail to the last known mailing address of your ex-wife to remove her personal property within 30 days. The notice shall inform her that all personal property not removed or claimed within the 30 days shall be considered abandoned. If she does not remove her personal property within 30 days, you may remove and store the property at your expense for not more than 30 days. If she does not take possession of the personal property and pay the reasonable expense of storage within the 30 days, her property will be considered abandoned and she no more will have any rights over it.

The following are the Arkansas statutes in this regard:
 
9-12-315.  Division of property -- Definition.

  (a) At the time a divorce decree is entered:

   (1)  (A) All marital property shall be distributed one-half (1/2) to each party unless the court finds such a division to be inequitable. In that event the court shall make some other division that the court deems equitable taking into consideration:

         (i) The length of the marriage;

         (ii) Age, health, and station in life of the parties;

         (iii) Occupation of the parties;

         (iv) Amount and sources of income;

         (v) Vocational skills;

         (vi) Employability;

         (vii) Estate, liabilities, and needs of each party and opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income;

         (viii) Contribution of each party in acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of marital property, including services as a homemaker; and

         (ix) The federal income tax consequences of the court's division of property.

      (B) When property is divided pursuant to the foregoing considerations the court must state its basis and reasons for not dividing the marital property equally between the parties, and the basis and reasons should be recited in the order entered in the matter;

   (2) All other property shall be returned to the party who owned it prior to the marriage unless the court shall make some other division that the court deems equitable taking into consideration those factors enumerated in subdivision (a)(1) of this section, in which event the court must state in writing its basis and reasons for not returning the property to the party who owned it at the time of the marriage;

   (3)  (A) Every such final order or judgment shall designate the specific real and personal property to which each party is entitled.

      (B) When it appears from the evidence in the case to the satisfaction of the court that the real estate is not susceptible of the division as provided for in this section without great prejudice to the parties interested, the court shall order a sale of the real estate. The sale shall be made by a commissioner to be appointed by the court for that purpose at public auction to the highest bidder upon the terms and conditions and at the time and place fixed by the court. The proceeds of every such sale, after deducting the cost and expenses of the sale, including the fee allowed the commissioner by the court for his or her services, shall be paid into the court and by the court divided among the parties in proportion to their respective rights in the premises.

      (C) The proceedings for enforcing these orders may be by petition of either party specifying the property the other has failed to restore or deliver, upon which the court may proceed to hear and determine the same in a summary manner after ten (10) days' notice to the opposite party. Such order, judgment, or decree shall be a bar to all claims of dower or curtesy in and to any of the lands or personalty then owned or thereafter acquired by either party; and

   (4) When stocks, bonds, or other securities issued by a corporation, association, or government entity make up part of the marital property, the court shall designate in its final order or judgment the specific property in securities to which each party is entitled, or after determining the fair market value of the securities, may order and adjudge that the securities be distributed to one (1) party on condition that one-half (1/2) the fair market value of the securities in money or other property be set aside and distributed to the other party in lieu of division and distribution of the securities.

(b) For the purpose of this section, "marital property" means all property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage except:

   (1) Property acquired prior to marriage or by gift or by reason of the death of another, including, but not limited to, life insurance proceeds, payments made under a deferred compensation plan, or an individual retirement account, and property acquired by right of survivorship, by a trust distribution, by bequest or inheritance, or by a payable on death or a transfer on death arrangement;

   (2) Property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent;

   (3) Property acquired by a spouse after a decree of divorce from bed and board;

   (4) Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties;

   (5) The increase in value of property acquired prior to marriage or by gift or by reason of the death of another, including, but not limited to, life insurance proceeds, payments made under a deferred compensation plan, or an individual retirement account, and property acquired by right of survivorship, by a trust distribution, by bequest or inheritance, or by a payable on death or a transfer on death arrangement, or in exchange therefor;

   (6) Benefits received or to be received from a workers' compensation claim, personal injury claim, or Social Security claim when those benefits are for any degree of permanent disability or future medical expenses; and

   (7) Income from property owned prior to the marriage or from property acquired by gift or by reason of the death of another, including, but not limited to, life insurance proceeds, payments made under a deferred compensation plan, or an individual retirement account, and property acquired by right of survivorship, by a trust distribution, by bequest or inheritance, or by a payable on death or a transfer on death arrangement, or in exchange therefor.

(c) The court is not required to address the division of property at the time a divorce decree is entered if either party is involved in a bankruptcy proceeding.
 
9-12-316.  Property settlements.

  In any divorce suit in which a written property settlement involving real property is entered into by the parties and reference is made to the settlement in the divorce decree, a copy of that portion of the property settlement involving real property shall be filed and recorded with the divorce decree.
 

9-12-317.  Dissolution of estates by the entirety or survivorship.

  (a) Hereafter, when any circuit court in this state renders a final decree of divorce, any estate by the entirety or survivorship in real or personal property held by the parties to the divorce shall be automatically dissolved unless the court order specifically provides otherwise, and in the division and partition of the property, the parties shall be treated as tenants in common.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section or any other law to the contrary, when one (1) of the parties to the estate by the entirety has been found guilty or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a felony during the marriage and within three (3) years of filing the complaint for divorce and the other party to the divorce did not benefit from the felony, the circuit judge may award the property to the spouse who did not commit the felony or to both parties in any proportion deemed equitable by the circuit judge.

(c) However, when a circuit court in this state renders an absolute divorce from the bonds of matrimony or a divorce from bed and board, and the court dissolves estates by the entirety or survivorship in real or personal property under this section, the court may distribute the property as provided in § 9-12-315. The court shall set forth its reasons in writing in the decree for making an other than equal distribution to each party, when all the property is considered together, taking into account the factors enumerated in § 9-12-315(a)(1).
 
18-27-103.  Abandonment of personal property.

  (a) Upon the purchase of land at a judicial sale, nonjudicial foreclosure sale, under the Arkansas Statutory Foreclosure Act, § 18-50-101 et seq., or otherwise, or a tax sale, all personal property remaining on the land or in any structure on the land shall be considered to have been abandoned if:

   (1) The owner of the personal property has received notice of the sale of the land and has neither removed the personal property nor notified the purchaser in writing of the owner's claim to the personal property within thirty (30) days of recording the deed commemorating the sale; or

   (2)  (A) After the sale, the purchaser may mail to the last known mailing address of all previous occupants and post notice of the sale of the land and the owner of the personal property has not:

         (i) Removed the personal property; or

         (ii) Notified the purchaser in writing of the owner's claim to the personal property within thirty (30) days of the posting of the notice.

      (B) The notice shall be dated, mailed by certified mail, posted conspicuously on the land, and contain a statement that informs the owner of the personal property that all personal property not removed or claimed within the thirty (30) days of the posting date period shall be considered abandoned.

(b)  (1) If the owner of the personal property does not remove the personal property within thirty (30) days, but merely gives the purchaser written notice of the owner's claim, the purchaser may remove and store the personal property at the owner's expense.

   (2)  (A) The personal property shall be stored for no more than thirty (30) days at the owner's expense.

      (B) If the owner of the personal property does not take possession of the personal property and pay the reasonable expense of storage within the thirty (30) days, the personal property shall be considered abandoned.

(c) A purchaser of land that disposes of personal property that is considered abandoned under this section is not subject to liability or suit.

(d) The following property is not personal property that may be considered abandoned under this section:

   (1) A manufactured home or mobile home on which a creditor or other party holds a mortgage, lien, security interest, or other encumbrance; and

   (2) Abandoned personal property on which a creditor or other party holds a mortgage, lien, security interest, or other encumbrance.