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What happens to smaller items in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2023 | Property Division

If you look around your house, it is likely that you can easily confirm that you’ve acquired hundreds of items over the years. What happens to all these things when you divorce? Surely a court has no interest in the small things of little value?

Anything you owned before marrying is still yours, and anything your spouse owned before marrying remains theirs. Occasionally there are exceptions, but that is the general rule. Anything you acquired as a married couple currently belongs to both of you and should be split equitably.

A valuation can help

Making a comprehensive list gives a basis to decide what to do with the smaller items. If you agree on the division of these things, a judge will not intervene.

If there is a risk that you and your spouse will eventually need to pursue litigation, there is no harm in having someone value everything you own, and it is wise in the case of things like artworks and antiques. If you are sure there is nothing of real value, you could just check prices on the web. In all cases, understanding the value of everything you own can allows you to enter negotiations or litigation prep on an even footing.

Additional considerations

Sentimental value is not to be underestimated, nor is the power of give and take. You know how much your spouse loves that dining table, so what is the point of arguing over it? Acting with compassion, and allowing each other to keep the things they alone love paves the way for a more successful, less stressful process.

Additionally, it can be helpful to keep in mind that, sometimes, it is best to give things away. If there are things that neither of you want, then either sell them and split the profits or give them to charity.

At the end of the day, seeking legal guidance can help ensure you abide by the laws and protect your rights when dividing property, including smaller, less valuable items.