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Deciding how to divide personal property in a divorce

Take a minute and think about all the things you own. You probably start thinking about homes and cars you have, but also think about everything in your home, your garage and any storage facilities you might have. These items can be personal property subject to division in a divorce.

It can be easy to overlook these assets during a divorce, but parties will need to divide them. Below are some tips for how to approach the division of your personal property.

Take careful inventory

Make a list of your personal property. You might already have a home inventory checklist for insurance purposes, which can be a great place to start. If you don't, you can download templates to help you get started.

Walk through every room and make a note of the items inside. Include:

  • Appliances
  • Electronics
  • Artwork
  • Jewellery and accessories
  • China
  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Lawn equipment

In addition to having a list, it can also be a good idea to take pictures of all the items. This can help you remember what everything is and document its current condition.

Categorize everything

Once you have your list, you and your soon-to-be ex can categorize the property. Generally, people put everything into one of three main categories: keep, sell and donate.

Gather the items you wish to donate and bring them to a designated facility. In terms of what you plan to sell, consider how you wish to do this. Will you hold a garage sale? Sell items online? Whatever you decide to do, keep careful records and receipts to make it easier to divide profits later.

Decide who gets what

Dividing property that you want to keep can be more complicated. To make division fair, you must know the value of each item. Often, you can look at similar items online and see the selling price to get an idea of value. Then, decide who gets what.

If both parties want to keep the same item, figure out a uniform way of making decisions. You might flip a coin, for instance, or let the person who purchased it or used it most keep it.

Dividing personal property can be overwhelming. However, when you stay organized and have a plan in place, it can be easier to tackle this task. 

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