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.