In New York during divorce marital property –property obtained during the marriage– is divided equitably. This includes not just real estate, but personal property as well, including tangible items that we can hold in our hands. When couples are separating or divorcing, there are a variety of ways to separate and divide household goods and personal property.
The easiest course occurs when the parties have no disagreements and are able to say, essentially, “he/she can take what he/she wants.” This does happen with frequency, and when it does the issue is addressed in the marital settlement or separation agreement by stating that the “parties have reached mutual agreement regarding this issue.” However, to avoid future conflict it is usually better to create a list, at least for “big ticket” items that have either substantial monetary or sentimental value. Such items may include artwork, jewelry, tools, furniture, and just about anything else; every couple is different.
When deciding what to take parties often consider the following factors: the sentimental value of an article, the size of the dwelling they are moving to; the needs of children, and the financial expense he/she made toward the purchase of a particular item.
When mutual agreement does not work and one or both parties are leaving the marital residence, we will ask them to make a list of the things they feel they need as they prepare to move to the next stage of their life. This sets the stage for discussion during mediation. After there is an agreement regarding the articles listed, we include the list in the separation/divorce agreement. We also ask the parties to set a date when they will be prepared to remove their items from the marital residence and include that date on each list.