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Household items that can cause property division headaches

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2024 | Divorce

The property division process during divorce is fraught with potential pitfalls. Spouses can find themselves disagreeing about everything from what their house is worth to who keeps the business. Retirement accounts, motor vehicles and other high-value assets often become the focus during the contested property division matters.

However, assets worth less on their own, but quite a bit combined, can also be a source of conflict. For example, household furnishings can lead to disputes between spouses during property division. The following are some of the common challenges of handling shared personal property from inside the marital home.

Setting a reasonable value

Experts estimate that the average Furnishings in someone’s house cost about $16,000. However, that may vary drastically from one household to the next. It is also possible for the vast majority of that value to stem from one or two assets, with the others being secondhand or cut-rate acquisitions. Spouses may argue over what individual assets are worth or how to compensate someone who simply gives up their right to all of the furniture, appliances and other goods in the marital home.

Clarifying what is marital and what is separate

Often, there is an assumption that everything in the marital home is marital property. However, someone may have come to the marriage already in possession of a household’s worth of furniture or a kitchen’s worth of cookware and appliances. Whether household goods are marital property or not can be a challenging discussion. Some assets may technically be the separate property of one spouse. Reviewing financial and ownership records can help establish which resources are subject to division and which likely remain the property of one spouse even after the divorce.

Choosing who keeps what

Sometimes, one spouse leaves the marital home with the announcement they don’t want any of the property within it other than their wardrobe. Other times, spouses fight over heirloom furniture, paintings or brand-new appliances. It can be very difficult to decide who keeps which assets, especially if either spouse has emotional attachment to any of the goods. Emotional value can be as important of a consideration as financial value for some people during the asset division process.

Realizing that home furnishings can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, and could cause conflict as a result, can be beneficial for those preparing for contentious upcoming property division discussions. Those who set appropriate goals and who prepare for certain assets to cause conflict may have an easier time navigating the challenges that arise at the end of marriage.


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