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Dividing housewares and other personal property during divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Family Law |

Divorce often involves complex decisions about dividing assets, from financial accounts to real estate. Yet, some of the most emotionally challenging decision-making often occurs when spouses tackle the often-overlooked category assets commonly referred to as “housewares and other personal property.” 

In Kentucky, as in many states, the courts honor a legal theory known as equitable distribution. If spouses cannot reach mutually agreeable settlement terms, the courts will aim to divide property fairly, but not necessarily equally. This approach applies to valuable assets and sentimental property alike. 

Making informed decisions

If you are divorcing and you and your ex need to divide the property that helps to make your house a home, you’ll likely want to begin by creating a comprehensive inventory of all housewares and personal items. This list should include furniture, appliances, decorations, kitchen items and personal effects like jewelry and clothing. Each item should be described with enough detail to prevent disputes about what is being referred to. This inventory can serve as a baseline for discussions or negotiations.

Once you have a detailed inventory, assign a fair market value to each item. Fair market value is what an informed buyer would pay an informed seller for an item, not the replacement cost or the original purchase price. You and your ex can do this together or hire an appraiser for more valuable items. An accurate valuation can help to ensure an equitable distribution of the household items.

At the point where you know what you own, and the monetary value of what you own as well as its sentimental value, you’ll want to prioritize items that have significant value (of any kind) to you, uniquely. You might have attachments to certain items like family heirlooms or artwork. Identifying and discussing these items early in the process can help streamline negotiations and focus efforts on items that truly matter to you. 

Ultimately, you’ll need to be prepared to make trade-offs. You may not be able to keep every item you want, so consider what you might be willing to give up to retain items of greater importance to you. This give-and-take can help to facilitate reaching an amicable agreement and can prevent the process from becoming overly contentious.

Once an agreement is reached, make sure it is documented formally. This legal step helps to ensure that the agreement is enforceable and both parties adhere to its terms. Should you have questions along the way, keep in mind that seeking personalized guidance is always an option.