Unless you have minor children, the biggest obstacle you and your spouse typically will face during divorce is the division of your assets.
When there are assets of significant value involved — like bank accounts, pension funds, investments, vehicles and real estate — things can get very complicated, very fast. Here’s an unfortunate reality: The more you fight about dividing your possessions, the bigger the cost you’ll experience in terms of money, time and emotional labor.
You can make dividing household items easier using these tips
If you’d like to save time, money and energy, see if your spouse is willing to work through this plan when it comes to household assets:
- Set aside anything that you know has significant value or might have significant value. You can worry about those things later when you finish dividing the bigger assets. Some of those things may ultimately need to be appraised before you can even begin to divvy them up.
- Each of you should make a “wish” list of the items that you would like to take. For now, keep this to yourself.
- Compare notes. See what doesn’t appear on both lists and divide those up according to who wants them. For example, maybe you’re the family gardener so you want all the yard tools, but your spouse likes to cook and wants all the kitchenware. If you’re both clear on those preferences and there’s no overlap, you’ve eliminated a chunk of items from the list.
- Put everything that remains on one list. These are the “disputed” items. Spend a few days prioritizing your wants and needs and really think about what matters the most.
- Meet again and agree to take turns selecting items from the disputed list. You can flip a quarter, draw a card or figure out some other way to decide who starts first. Each person takes a turn until everything is divided.
Is this process perfect? No, of course not. You’ll have to compromise — and that may not be easy. But it does require both parties to really think about what matters the most. Working with an experienced divorce attorney may also help you find other options.