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Throughout a marriage, couples can acquire many things: furniture, tvs, kitchenware, linens, jewelry, paintings, family photos, etc.  Some times these items serve a very functional purpose; other times they are sentimental parts of a marriage and family life.  Some items have monetary value and some items have no monetary value.  When a divorce or separation occurs, how are these assets handled?

First, from a practical standpoint, it is important to preserve the items whether by having possession of it or by making a photo/video log of it.  Second, for each item, how was it acquired: by gift from a spouse, by gift from a third party, as a purchase during the marriage, through an inheritance?  Third, what is its monetary value?  Remember, value is normally  assigned as of the date of the hearing/agreement.  It is not the value as of the date of acquisition; it is not the replacement value.  It is valued at yard sale or Craig’s list value unless you have an appraisal done that assigns it another value.

Personal property can be a last battleground; and it can be an expensive one.  It is filled with emotion.  However, it can be resolved.  Be careful how you choose to fight this battle; and consult with a family law attorney when assistance is needed.

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