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10 Property

Your Divorce Advisor Tips

10 Tips on Personal Property

  • Divide your personal property without the help of your divorce lawyer or the court. Unless domestic violence is involved, it's not cost-effective to use divorce lawyers or the court's time to divide your furniture and personal belongings. By the time you've fought about it, you could've purchased all new things!
  • Make an inventory of your household items, and decide what you'd like from the list, assessing each item's priority.
  • Speak with your spouse (again, provided domestic violence is not involved) about what he or she would like from the inventory. Are there items which you can agree upon? If so, that part is settled.
  • Try and divide things based on what you both actually need. Courts rarely award money in lieu of a share of personal property, so unless you and your spouse agree on a buy-out for a specific item (or even the whole house full of furniture), you will receive personal property, not cash.
  • If you can't agree on how to divide your list of items, try flipping a coin, or drawing straws. One person picks first, the other second, and so on.
  • Try and divide the items sensibly. If your spouse has the children 75% of the time, maybe he should get the Nintendo. If you need a computer for your business, that may take precedence over your child's desire to use the internet.
  • Gift items from family members ordinarily go back to the spouse to whom they were given. Grandma's hope chest goes to her grandchild, not her ex-grandchild-in-law.
  • Gift items between the two of you go to the original recipient. You don't get back the diamond Valentine's pendant from 1995 just because you're splitting up now.
  • If pets are involved, try and make your judgment based on where the pet is better off. Does your spouse have a shorter workday, while you work 14 hours straight? Fido probably needs walks more often than you can realistically provide.
  • If it won't matter in 5 years, let it go. Are you too focused on a few specific items that won't change your life? Maybe each item is a symbol for something else….and it's time to let go.
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