Who gets the personal property if he moves out?

Produced by an AmeriCorps Project of Western Massachusetts Legal Services updated and revised Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated November 2010

What can I do if I’m at a 209A hearing and the abusive person asks the judge for an order allowing him to take personal property with him?

Judges order many kinds of abuse prevention in 209A orders. A judge can order a person not to abuse you, to stay away from you, and other things.   All of these orders are to protect you, the abused person.   Judges should not include anything in 209A Protective Orders to benefit an abusive person. The law, Chapter 209A, does not say that the judge can allow the person who abused you to take personal property.

Some judges may consider a request from the person who abused you to get his property anyway.

But, you may want the abusive person to take some of his personal property, if it can be done safely.  You might not want his clothes and personal items lying around.  If the tools that he uses for work are in the apartment, you may want him to have them because you want him to be working.

If the judge is thinking about an order that will allow the person who abused you to get his stuff from your home,  make sure you ask the judge to include plans in the order for this to happen safely. Some plans you can ask the judge to include in the order include:

  • A police escort for the person who abused you, when he comes to collect his things;
  • Name the specific things the person who abused you is allowed to take;
  • that the personal property be truly personal: clothes, toiletries, identification and similar personal papers, tools he uses at work; not the TV, radio, computer, appliances, furniture;
  • that the person who abused you is not allowed to come into your home, even to get his personal property. You can collect the things and leave them at the door, or at someone else’s house.

Who to call for help

Chapter 11. Appendix

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