I'm not really sure how this works but I'm completely at the end of my rope and don't know where else to turn or what else to do. I'm turning to the Gawker community in hopes of finding a solution to my dilemma.

My husband passed in September 2013. His parents and I agreed at that time that we would split the ashes and would each place them where we felt appropriate (my location is the location my husband and I had discussed as wanting our ashes spread upon our deaths). I lived in Florida, they in New Hampshire. I allowed them to take the ashes on "one last family road trip" with the understanding that they would hand over my half in spring/summer when I was ready to make the trek way, way north to the desired location.

After I called them to try and collect my half, I received a call from my sister-in-law telling me that the family hated me, wished I had died instead, and that there was no way they would turn over a speck of ashes to me. Keep in mind that under every single legal statute in the US, the non-legally-estranged wife has total claim to the ashes. I was told not to contact my in-laws or they would call the police and file for a restraining order for "harassment" (I had called them four times in six months).


At that point, I contacted a lawyer who sent them a letter. After three weeks, they finally went in to meet with the lawyer and offered a compromise of three choices to me. Now, to me, it isn't a compromise when you're in the wrong and are giving the rightful owner choices that she didn't want in the first place. I responded with three options of my own: original plan, hand over all the ashes to me, or simply call me and speak with me respectfully (because honestly, I'm ok with their plan but I feel I deserve the respect since I'M THE WIFE). They have not done so.

Do I have any options? How can I proceed? I don't have much money to pursue a lawsuit. If I were able to get to their home, I probably would have already broken in and simply taken my property back. The police say this is a civil matter since I handed the ashes over to them and they simply aren't returning them.

Our anniversary is on Monday. I'm a wreck. I don't understand people.

TL;DR: In-laws won't return dead husband's ashes. What are my options?