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Need help so I can keep my guns!

4397 Views 45 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  Al Lowe
This thread is not really towards the CCW issue but an important issue(to me)!

Could a marriage a laywer(her laywer) be able to take my guns during a divorce? I'm not married(might do it one day might not) and I don't have any kids. Just doing a little reconnassaince before I(if I ever) throw myself to the wolf!
Please give as many details, opinions, advice, experiences and/or actual court cases if possible!
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opinion (free and well worth it)

I doubt it unless the court seized all your assets. I have heard of people (who expected this to happen in a pending lawsuit) giving their prize possessions to someone they trust, hoping to get them back later after the legal smoke clears. I suspect that practice is illegal...
I had a buddy way back when sell me his guns for $1 each. NFG,the courts go by fair market value. If your guns are worth $10K and the Dodge is worth $10K then----pick one. If her lawyer or PI gets wind of the guns being "sold" the judge may "ask" you show up to testify under oath. Remember UNDER OATH ! Nobody wants this grief.-----
It's going to depend a lot on your state's law, how "amicable" your divorce is, what you all agree to, if the thing is settled before it goes to trial, etc. But, the bottom line is, yes, it is possible that you could lose your guns.

A friend of mine recently went through this. He filed for divorce, and was ultimately able to settle it amicably as he had hoped he would be able to do. During the process, though, his wife told him that she wanted the value of his guns included in their asset-split calculation. He'd thought ahead, though, and immediately produced a copy of an insurance rider showing all the jewelry he'd bought for her and said, "Okay, well, then I guess we need to include this too." He had (wisely, I think) opted for a big and very strong safe instead of insurance so that he would not have to cataloge everything, so that wasn't an issue on his side. The guns were never mentioned again.

The only way I think you could for SURE (just my guess) to protect your guns is to sell them to a friend for fair market value, and be able to prove that fair market value. Include the sale proceeds in the calculation, and then buy the guns back at a later date. And yes, that would mean that you're buying them twice. Others may have additional suggestions.

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Does this apply to common law relationships?

What happens if a prenup is signed?
What happens if a prenup is signed?
I guess if that was written up to safeguard the guns then, well, perhaps.

I am no expert but these days I'd think you might be still SOL. A fight at very least. What seems wrapped up at one time can so easily it seems get shredded when lawyers wade in!
Keep this in mind, some states [in michigan I know this is true] if there is a Personal Protection Order [PPO] filed against you, the court seizes all firearms, revocation [sometimes temp] of your CCW, and you are not allowed to purchase handguns [I'm not sure about longguns].
I heard stories, and people can get extremely evin when divorce come around.
Well, it may look like I might not get married. I would like to keep everything I bust my butt trying to build to be worth something(sentimental and financial). I just can't deal with spending all my time and money on building something and have someone come along and try to take it away(sometimes it might not even be the point of value, it could be just to see you miserable).
You never truly know someone, until you divorce 'em. :wink:
1man said:
Does this apply to common law relationships?
I believe you are talking about is a common-law MARRIAGE. What I'm going to write below is entirely dependent on what the law is in your state. It may or MAY NOT be accurate as a generality.

First, if your state recognizes marriage by common-law, it may or may not exist in your case - you (or she) can't just say it's a common-law marriage; there are elements that must be satisfied for one to exist, for instance in some states, a "holding out", meaning that you must represent yourselves to the public as husband and wife, and probably for a set number of years.

Second, the issue of common-law marriage just goes to whether or not y'all really are or are not married, and not as much, if at all, to IF there is a marriage how it will be dissolved. In other words, depending on what your state's law says, the "common-law" issue is whether y'all are even married in the first place. If it turns out y'all are, THEN you go to the next issue, which is dissolving it (e.g.: the divorce).

1man said:
What happens if a prenup is signed?
It depends on whether or not you are married, what the prenuptual agreement says, and whether any action on your part or parts during the marriage has changed what you agreed to in the prenup.

I've only been here a short while, 1man, and I continue to be happy at how eager and willing folks here a re to give advice. I've learned a lot in the short time I've been here. BUT! ...

... I am telling you, do NOT rely on what I or anyone else says here. Divorce is a matter of state law, and each state's law is different. Also, the application of that law to the facts of your particular situation will UNDOUBTEDLY heavily influence your legal position and what you decide to do.

I cannot stress strongly enough to you that you contact a lawyer in your own state who specializes in domestic-relations work. That is the only ... the ONLY ... way that you can get an answer that you can rely on. If money is an issue, all state bar associations that I am aware of have a separate lawyer-referral service to get you to the right person, and they can often handle cases "pro bono", meaning without charge.

d2thomas said:
Keep this in mind, in some states if there is a Personal Protection Order [PPO] filed against you, ...
DAMN right! WHATEVER you do, don't get physical or do anything that could support a request on her part that the court enjoin you!

A final personal note: I feel for you, man. I have gone through a divorce, and while the good folks here and elsewhere can empathize, they cannot truly sympathize with you unless they've gone through it too. So, here's the second piece of good advice I can give you about this:

The biggest single source of the worry I can tell you are feeling right now is being caused by your not having the hard facts anyone has to have to make a decision on anything. Using the matter of your guns as a specific example, your worry stems from the fact that you are asking "What if?" and "Can she?" Until you have the answer to those questions - and I mean definite answers, not a concensus of folks who are on your side but are not representing you as professionals (meaning a lawyer in your own state), you will continue to worry. The sooner you move ahead and contact a lawyer in your state, the sooner you'll get some of the worry off your shoulders. So, don't delay - contact a lawyer, and get your answers, and then you'll find that you are in a much better mental position to proceed.

A final thing that helped me: think about it like this - you are currently walking through thick woods. Try to remember that there is an edge to the woods, and you are going to get there by doing what you're doing - continuing to take one step at a time.

So proceed - and the first step is to contact a domestic-relations attorney in your own state.

Hang in there, bro.

Kindest regards,
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Like Jon, I too went thru one. It could have been a lot worse but whichever way you look at it - it's messy!

That said - if you meet the right woman - do NOT let these matters totally deter you - you might be throwing away as much emotionally as you fear you may loose thru a divorce.

Not divorce but hey - how is this for a legal bummer. A dear old friend of mine - in UK - his step son died early this year in an auto wreck - on his own, so no one else involved. In trying to clear up the estate, what do he and his wife find? A biological father who for all the 35 years since his one deed of impregnation, has not been seen or heard and has had ZERO to do with the kid's upbringing. Now he wants 50% of the estate!!! I am not sure whether the law will let this go thru easily (I fear it may) but IMO it is a money-grabbing, obscene and despicable behavior.

Back to divorce again - point is, money (synonymous with greed) is truly the root of all evil.
P95Carry said:
That said - if you meet the right woman - do NOT let these matters totally deter you - you might be throwing away as much emotionally as you fear you may loose thru a divorce.
Well, as usual, you said a mouthful, and it's spot on. Try to do as P95 said, and I'd add that you should also try to consider what you might have done wrong in this marriage and correct that for your future relationship. Anyone who is honest will tell you that there are two sides to everything, and that no matter what the other spouse has done, the breakdown of a marriage is almost always the fault, to some degree, of both people (and yes, there are exceptions, but they are pretty rare IMO).

It took me awhile to admit that on my own end, and it probably will you too because you are currently in "war mode", and that naturally requires certain mental positioning. SMART people are NEVER too old to learn, though.

Again, hang in there bro.

Well heck - I just re-read the originaly post, and he said that he's NOT married yet but just doing some recon!

I oughta take more time to read so that I wouldn't go off on these unnecessary tangents. lol!

You rapidly mentally aging member,
I heard stories, and people can get extremely evil when divorce come around. Well, it may look like I might not get married. I would like to keep everything I bust my butt trying to build to be worth something(sentimental and financial). I just can't deal with spending all my time and money on building something and have someone come along and try to take it away(sometimes it might not even be the point of value, it could be just to see you miserable).
I can understand wanting to keep everything you've worked hard for, and wanting to fight a person from taking things out of spite and revenge. But what you're saying is really saddening. Forgive me for rambling on....

I think that if you believe you need a prenuptial agreement, you're already saying the marriage will fail.

I got an Order of Protection against an ex-boyfriend after he went psycho when I left him. I've had a couple people make angry comments to me because I "affected his gun rights" by getting the OP. Well, getting the OP was the last resort after six months of nobody and nothing being able to stop him (short of a .45 to the noggin, but thank goodness no event resulted in that). As far as I'm concerned, he affected his own gun rights. I wasn't vengeful - I just wanted him to leave me alone.

As far as I know, he's still got a rusty, single-shot shotgun under his bed. I could care less.

I've also been through the "equivalent of a divorce," and the fallout wasn't pretty. There's things more important (to me) than losing property, and that's sanity and reputation, two things a vengeful person can tamper with. While paychecks can replace property, it takes a lot of time to lick and heal other wounds.

Bad relationships and risks haven't stopped me from wanting to settle down. I'm the settling-down type, and I've found someone who makes me incredibly happy, and we are both on the same page. I'll be married on February 5th. I used those past relationships as hard learning experiences, and even though they were terrible events, I wouldn't go back and erase them for one second. I can fully appreciate what I have now.

When I get married, all of my guns will belong to Mrshonts, and so will all of my jewelry, my antiques and the pictures on the walls. And all of his stuff will be mine. Everything will be ours. That's just a part of being married, and I can live with that. I've been through one disastrous relationship after another, and have finally crawled out of the crater-riddled battle zone and found Mrshonts on the other side. Maybe I have my big rosy-eyes on, but I wouldn't miss this opportunity to be happy for the rest of my life over the chance that it may not work and I'll lose some stuff. That's a risk we take when we get married.

I hope you don't decide to miss out on the good things in life because you're worried about the bad.
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Don't worry about it BigJon! Thank You to everyone one else for the advice, comments and experiences.
I can assume all the happiness to come but I want to get help stratigize the risk before I walk into action!
Just like I'll have a team of legal professionals for my business issues(tax, insurance, law and etc.), I'll find a professionals that deals with divorce see what happens.
Betty, Congrats on Wedding in Feb.
I'm just speaking from what i see around me. If or when I get married, believe me that I will put everything I have(plus some more) into making the relationship work and/or keeping the fire burning. I'm just looking out for what I makes me happy(these are my hobby, and my hobby keeps me from being stressed). I try to always be a rational thinker and I can adapt to ANY environment.
I won't miss out on the good the things in life, I love risk! This is sad to say but everyone I know in my age group that I know is married, I hear and see problems(know relationships are hard work, but what I'm seeing is real dumb stuff). All of them are looking towards divorce, All(that's extremely sad). So this is an issue for me!
I know none of them are me or do/think/adjust/compromise like me. I know when I find the women that is good for me, I'm not letting her go without a fight!

Thank You Betty sharing your views and experience!
It seems that Betty share a common viewpoint. I agree with every single thing she said. I guess it comes down to this: what's more important to you - your stuff, or getting married. Yea, that's simplistic, but hey - everything in life has risk. If you find the right other half (and that really IS what she is supposed to be, just as you are her other half), you'll actually take great joy from giving everything you are and have to her.

Great news, Betty. Best wishes to you and congratulations to the lucky fella.

Bettert o risk being happy, than keep your material possesions. I have been thru a divorce , luckily she didin't want to get nasty with it. That said, if I were to find the right woman I might re marry. No pre nups for me. Finding the right gal seems to be the hardest part. Best to ask lawyers for legal advice.
One small caveat - re one's mistakes when it comes to divorce etc.

Despite the fact that divorce itself is no fun at all - as Betty points out very accurately - we all learn thru experience - it is in sense, gaining the positive out of a negative.

Most of all tho - let me say this - I would not go back and change anything - why? Not only did I learn but most important of all - my own kids thru that marriage would never have happened had things been different. These are two folks who are now married and with their own kids, and I hope they continue to find happiness without any break-ups. More than that - I have had some of the most precious times of my entire life, sharing time and events with them - they are my closest friends and allies - that has been worth more than I can say.

I am more blessed than many.
Depends on where you live.. If the "spouse or significant other" feels they're "living in fear" due to anything you may have expressed , said, or mentioned, you might get a Restraining order against you. With that in mind, the Local PD will run a check on you, and you'll probably get a visit from them, Depending on the circumstanses, they MIGHT take your weapons. Some partners are told up front by their Lawyer to make sure you're not a threat, and automatically try to get an order against you...Really S***s
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