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How to divide personal property in your divorce

When you think about property division in a divorce, you probably imagine dividing up the house, bank accounts, cars, credit card obligations and other significant assets and/or debts. Of course, this will be a top priority in any divorce.

However, you will also need to deal with all the smaller pieces of property inside your home, like your couch, home decor items, dishes and everything else that you own but were not part of your property division agreement. This can be a very real challenge, particularly when your energy has already been drained by the rest of the divorce process. Below are some tips to can make things at least a little easier for you.

  1. Make a list. Include in this list every piece of furniture, artwork and jewelry, tools, appliances, electronics and anything else in your home, garage or office that is going to be divided. Having a list can help you stay organized and keep track of who gets what. There are several home inventory checklists available online that you can use.
  2. Take pictures. Photos allow you to establish the condition that the property is in and document its existence. It will also make it easier to list things for sale on Facebook, Craigslist or eBay. 
  3. Assign values. Whether you are keeping the property or selling it, you need to assign a value to it. In most cases, the price you assign should reflect how much an item would be worth if you sold it in a garage sale or online. The price generally will be less than the amount you paid for it.
  4. Separate the property. Gather the items you are going to sell, list them online or organize a garage sale. Move everything that you or your ex is going to keep into each person's house or storage unit.

Divvying up personal property inside your home can be more difficult than you expect, but it isn't impossible. If you stay organized and keep good records, then you can more easily resolve disputes and prevent problems from arising in the first place.

Should you run into property division issues you can't solve or questions you can't answer, it would be a good idea to talk to your attorney.

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