On occasion, a person may need to remove belongings from a residence after a Family Court or District Court order has been issued, requiring them to vacate the premises. This most often occurs in a domestic assault case or in a Family Court Relief From Abuse hearing. Often a judge will allow the Defendant in the case to return to the property to retrieve some personal belongings in the company of a law enforcement officer. This is the only way to legally return to the property is a judge has issued a court order preventing entry onto the property or contact with the opposing party in the case.
The Sheriff’s Office suggests that you contact your local Police Department or the Vermont State Police, depending on the area where you live and inquire if they have an officer available to accompany you. If they are willing to accompany you for a brief period, there is generally no fee for their services. If they do not have anyone available, or are unable to accompany you for the time necessary for you to retrieve your property, you may have to consider contracting with a Sheriff’s Department, for a fee, to have them travel with you to get your property.
The Chittenden County Sheriff’s Office will escort a person to their property to retrieve belongings, in situations where a Vermont Family Court Judge has issued either a Temporary Restraining Order, also known as a Relief From Abuse Order, or a Final Order of the same type. We will only do this if the Family Court judge has specifically allowed for this in the Order, and this language must be clearly spelled out. If a Family or District Court Judge has not specifically allowed for a person to return to the residence accompanied by a Deputy Sheriff or other law enforcement officer, we have no legal authority to go the residence.
If you are a party who needs to go to a residence to retrieve belongings under a Family or District Court Order, and are unable to obtain this service at no charge from your local police or the State Police, you may contact our office at (802) 863-4341. The scheduling Deputy can discuss the contractual arrangement and our fees for this service at that time. Please be prepared to tell the scheduling Deputy the anticipated amount of time you expect to be at the property. Please also note that any property which is in dispute as to actual ownership must remain at the residence and this issue must be settled by a Judge or other appropriate legal authority, such as a court-appointed arbitrator or a Family Court magistrate. We cannot serve as a referee in disputes over items or groups of items. We are there only to ensure the safety of the parties and compliance with State law.
You will need to have the following:
a.) A copy of the Order from the court.
b.) Positive photographic identification.
c.) Specific directions to the property.
d.) The name and phone number of the person who will be at the residence. This will most likely be the Plaintiff in the case, or a mutual friend or neutral party who will be fair to both you and the opposing party. The Sheriff’s Office does not make the phone calls or arrangements, and will not be responsible for setting up the opposing party being at the residence.
e.) Your full name and contact phone numbers so that we may reach you in case of any changes to the arrangement.
f.) The Sheriff’s Office needs the paperwork and the details for all of your arrangements, to be at our office for review and approval, prior to the scheduling of an actual escort to the property.
Please contact the scheduling Deputy by phone at our office, at (802) 863-4341 if you have any questions about this service, or to schedule a Deputy Sheriff to assist you.