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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My husband left a year ago and has not helped to pay for anything

Customer Question

My husband left a year ago and has not helped to pay for anything for our 3 children for over 6 months. He left some things at the house, one being a bike which I have given to someone as payment for doing work on the family car. He knows I have given it away and has reported it stolen and said the police are going to visit me. Does the bike still belong to him even though he walked about a year ago and left it?

Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Did he say he would return for his possessions?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He gave me the keys back to the house and took his clothes and at no point did he mention me holding his possessions. It is only now I am having to move out as I cannot afford for me and our 3 children to stay there, he has sent yellow stickers over with our eldest son to put around the house. Nothing was put on the bike, I guess because he automatically thought he would have his bike.



Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Did you give him any opportunity to collect it or did you just give it away without asking?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Are you ok?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok, but very scared. He is very threatening and the police are coming to take a statement. This is really just a domestic. He has been in the house on a few occasions and taken bits he wanted without asking. Pictures etc. I did not ask if he wanted the bike I just got rid of it.



Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, of course its just relationship twaddle. However, unfortunately that doesn't mean the police will not act.

If you disposed of his bike without asking then that is theft I'm afraid.

It is difficult to see which way this will go. Of course, he might not make a report anyway. People do say they will make reports sometimes and then not go through with it.

If he does, the police could say its a civil matter. They are very inconsistent about things like that. Of course, their response should be that is a family matter for the family court but unfortunately they do have to waste their resources sometimes on things that should be in the family court.

If they do act, they will invite you in voluntarily. They are not going to pick you up under arrest for this.

They will probably offer a caution. Its not really suitable for a fixed penalty fine as its not a shoplifting.

You could argue in defence that he abandoned it. He had left it there for a year. The only difficulty that I can forecast with that is that you didn't ask him before disposing of it. You are under a duty to take reasonable steps to reunite abandoned goods with their owners.

If you offer him the cost of replacing it then it might all disappear into nothing.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.