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What happens to all our personal property in a divorce?

Property division in a divorce doesn't just refer to expensive, large properties like homes, cars and retirement accounts. Divorcing spouses must also divide personal property. Personal property includes everything inside a home, from electronics and jewelry to wedding china and furniture.

During a divorce, parties must decide what to do with all this property. Generally speaking, this will mean putting them into one of three categories: keep, sell or donate/throw away.

Keeping personal property

If you or the other party wishes to keep personal property, then you will want to keep a record of what the item is and what its value is. This ensures there is an equitable balance of distribution when it comes to the items each person is keeping. You should also work out protocol in advance for resolving arguments if you both want to keep something; for example, you may agree to allow the party who purchased the item to keep it.

Selling personal property

If you decide to sell items, you must determine their value. Assigning a value typically involves researching and looking on sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to see what similar items are selling for. You can then sell through these or similar sites. In either case, it is important to keep track of how much money is made from all the sales so that you can divide profits accordingly.

Getting rid of personal property

Whether you decide to throw away or donate property, it is crucial that both parties are aware of this option. Getting rid of something the other party intended to keep can spark disputes and create or exacerbate feelings of resentment and distrust, which can taint discussions regarding other divorce-related matters.

Dividing personal property can be more complicated and contentious than people expect. As such, it is important to stay organized, create a system that facilities fairness and discuss any conflicts or confusion with your attorney as soon as they arise.

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