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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask how she came to be in possession of the box please and when she acquired it?
My son asked me to lend it to him a few years ago and I did but I only lent it not given it.
Thank you. Do you recall how many years ago roughly?
Thank you. Has or would your son acknowledge the loan in writing if you asked - email or similar would be fine?
He would absolutely!
Thanks. On that basis the position is relatively straightforward from your point of view. You are not impacted by virtue of their divorce proceedings. This from your point of view is a straightforward matter of suing for the return of property loaned to your son. The first step is to consider writing a letter addressed to your son and daughter in law (it is necessary to treat them jointly for this purpose although you may privately assure your son perhaps by telephone that you are only involving him because it is legally necessary to do so in order to successfully sue and you have no intention of coming after him legally) advising that you are disappointed that despite previous requests for them to return your box (giving a precise description of it and its contents and number) and accoringly you regret that you must formally state that unless it is returned or made available for collection within 10 days of the date of your letter you will have no option but to issue proceedings for its return together with costs.
From there if it is not returned you can issue proceedings using form N244 stating the circumstances and how the chest came to be in your daughter in law's possession seeking an order that the chest is returned or failing which (if it has been lost for example) that damages are awarded against her. You would need to issue proceedings against both your son and daughter in law if you loaned the chest to your son as opposed to your daughter in law though as above you do not need to actually pursue your son with enforcement proceedings.
Assuming you obtain judgement you can then consider appointing bailiffs to recover the chest from your daughter in law together with costs.
This is the N244 application form:http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=484
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Thanks. The only thing I would like to clarify is that it is not my son who doesn't want to return the box. It is my daughter in law. They are living separately and somehow she came to possess the box. So why can't my son and me send her the written request and if she doesn't comply sue her?
I appreciate the position. The reason I suggest you isssue jointly is from what you say you lent the box to your son not your DIL. Accordingly it is your son that is legally responsible to you to return the box. As you say your son could sue her for the return of the box but this could be caught up in matrimonial proceedings which could complicate the matter in the absence of a claim from you. Accordingly the most straightforward approach for you is to consider issuing proceedings agaisnt them both jointly but actually in terms of enforcement proceedings if necessary just pursue your DIL alone using baliffs for example.
Is there anything else I can help you with?
No. Thank you.