Each divorce is different, but every divorce requires spouses to allocate and distribute property. The purpose of a divorce is to separate community assets, which means that financial accounts must be divided, including checking, savings, retirement, and stocks, etc. Over the years, spouses likely accumulate thousands of dollars’ worth of personal property. Everything from couches, TVs, pots, pans, dishes, and the kitchen sink may be split. Just because they can be divided, does not mean that they should or will be because in the end – sometimes – the more convenient path is the right choice to make.
There is no doubt that emotions run high during a dissolution. Anger, frustration, and even sadness may lead you to decisions you may regret. Fighting over the kitchen sink may fall into that category. Between residential schedules for children, child support, and distributing large scale assets like homes and retirement accounts, there is already a lot to discuss as part of a divorce. Discussions over small items of personal property usually only detracts from the important items and causes more grief.
Fighting over the silverware may also cost you thousands more than letting your spouse keep a few extra pieces of personal property. Attorney fees add up quickly when parties are having a dispute, and if the fight is only over a few odds and ends, between both sides, the costs of litigation will soon outweigh the value of the objects in question. So, while it is certainly possible to fight over these items, often the pragmatic approach is to leave the dishes in the cabinet and instead spend your time more wisely.
Often in a dissolution, personal property is not worth nearly as much as you would hope regardless. That brand-new television you bought for $1,500 a few years ago may only have a market value of a couple hundred dollars now. By the time you add up all the available property, the fair market value as of the divorce may be a fraction of what was paid to acquire the property in the first place. Unfortunately, the fair market value is the only evaluation that matters, which is why most often, fighting over tangible items is just not worth the effort and expense in litigation.
At Magnuson Lowell PS, our experienced family law litigators will help guide you through the divorce process. That includes providing you with up-to-date information and advice to help you make informed decisions about your own case. If that means fighting for the ceramic clown collection that means so much to you, so be it, but it often means taking a deep breath and setting forward the issues that truly matter. Call today for a free case evaluation.