Some of the most problematic assets to divide in a divorce include real estate, businesses, valuable collections and other types of complex marital property.
However, for many people, it is also very difficult to divide personal property. This includes the items that surround you every day in your home, from furniture and appliances to computers and books. Even though these types of property are less valuable than homes and cars, you still have to go through a process to divide them fairly. Thankfully, there are some tips to make it a little easier.
Tip #1: Get organized
Organization can streamline the process of dividing personal property considerably. To keep things clear and consistent, make a master list of all your personal property. Keep track of each item, its condition and its assigned value. Then record whether you or your ex will keep each thing or you plan to sell or donate it. There are numerous online tools and guides that can help you create a home inventory checklist. You should also make a list of any items which are your separate property, such as items you inherited, personal items you owned before the marriage, or items that were given to only you as a gift.
Tip #2: Think about what you want
You may or may not want to retain specific items. Think carefully about what you want to keep and what you are willing to let go of. When you have your list of what you want, you can negotiate trades or financial incentives that allow you to keep those items. This allows you to focus your energy on property that you truly value.
Tip #3: Set the rules
Rules can help you divide personal property. For instance, you can set a rule that whoever purchased an item or used it more will keep it. Or you might agree to donate anything you received as a wedding gift. You can also establish rules for calculating fair, consistent valuations and where you plan to sell everything. In cases where the parties are unable to come to a consensus, the attorneys may be able to provide a referral to a professional called a referee who can meet with parties and then make a final decision on how personal property should be distributed so the parties do not have to go to court.
Personal property may not hold as much value as more substantial assets hold, but it can still be a challenge to divide it. Do not lose hope or get too frustrated if you run into any problems during this step in a divorce. You can address the situation with the help of your loved ones and legal team so that you can resolve issues and put this difficult process behind you.