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How do we divide property with no financial value?

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2023 | Property Division |

Not everything you hold dear has a value you can calculate. Precious heirlooms, jewelry and even your home carry both financial and emotional value. Handling these objects in a divorce can be incredibly stressful and challenging.

However, what about the items that do not have a price? What happens to the sentimental assets in the divorce?

What kind of items might this include?

The most common items of sentimental value are your photos. While they have almost no financial value, they might mean the world to you and your family. Other common items of sentimental value might include:

  • Your child’s old baby clothes
  • Cards or letters from loved ones
  • Handmade items
  • Trinkets you collected as memories

You might consider these assets even more valuable than financial assets. So, how do you go about splitting them up?

Different kinds of assets, same kind of approach

Regardless of the financial value of certain items, they generally still fall under the categories of marital or separate property. You should consider a few key details:

  • If you received certain sentimental items as gifts, or inherited them from loved ones, that means they are separate property
  • If you shared or acquired items during the marriage – such as photos of your immediate family – they will likely be marital property

The strategy for dividing these items often falls to your ability to negotiate and agree. For example, you and your spouse might easily agree to make digital or physical copies of cherished photos and divide them that way. Regarding other items, your spouse may want nothing to do with your trinkets – and vice versa.

However, splitting up sentimental items is not always easy

Even if there is no real financial value tied to assets of sentimental value, the conflict surrounding them can be even greater than those with financial value. The incredibly emotional process of a divorce and the emotional value tied to these items often make this situation ripe for disagreement.

In many cases, a spouse might keep sentimental items and use them to gain the upper hand in the divorce. In other situations, you and your spouse might simply disagree on who should keep what. These items might not have financial value, but they can still play a large role in the process of dividing your property. You must prepare yourself to navigate this process both emotionally and financially.