Dividing assets and property in a divorce can be one of the most painful, frustrating elements of the process. It can also be incredibly complicated.
Even seemingly simple steps like dividing household items can become bitter and problematic when divorcing spouses disagree. However, there are steps you can take to minimize confusion and resolve property division issues more peacefully.
- Set up rules early on. Discuss consistent methods of assigning value to property, deciding who gets an item you both want and figuring out what you will do if you cannot agree. This might be something as simple as flipping a coin or it can be more involved like referring to the advice of an appraiser.
- Keep the valuation system simple. Understand that your personal property is likely going to be worth less than you think and less than you paid for it. Consult the classifieds and sites like Craigslist for reference, or think about what you might sell it for at a yard sale. Take sentimental value out of the equation and try to be as objective as you can when assigning a value. You can also decide to donate items if you can't sell them or if you cannot agree on a price.
- Make lists. Create a home inventory. List all the items from books and dishes to furniture and tech devices. Keep track of who wants each item and what its value is. This can help you stay organized and keep the balance of distribution fair and transparent.
- Take pictures of the items. Having photographs of all the marital property in your home can help you document its condition and keep track of everything so one person doesn't take or sell something without permission. It is also very helpful to have pictures if you post items for sale online.
These steps can help you minimize or even avoid some of the headaches associated with dividing personal property in your divorce. It will also be important to talk to your attorney throughout this process to ensure that whatever resolution you reach is fair and in line with New Jersey property division laws.
Dividing these smaller assets can be a bigger challenge than you think, but it doesn't have to derail your divorce.