How Do You Deal With the Contents of Your Home Upon Divorce?
A marriage breakdown is undoubtedly a stressful and emotional time. Parties must discuss what happens with their home, who spends time with the children, who is to pay for the costs of the children and day-to-day living, and how any other assets are to be divided. This often includes personal items the parties have built up during their marriage such as the contents of their home. These items can be valuable but often they are of some sentimental value to the parties.
These items may have been purchased by the parties in happier times together or been given as a gift by the other party or a member of the family, sometimes this even involves wedding gifts! Parties are then expected to try and agree a division of these (often sentimental) things at a time when emotions are high and the situation acrimonious. If a discussion is not possible, as it not always is between 2 people that are separating, then further time and money needs to be spent on drafting lists of items for division and trying to reach a compromise. Unfortunately, this issue this can also stand in the way of the parties being able to reach a final agreement as to the division of all the marital assets and can be a sticking point for negotiations.
The Court does not like to get involved in arguments about chattels and expect parties to reach an agreement as to how these possessions are to be divided. Mediation may be a more appropriate forum to raise any issues. For the parties going through this process this is often a very difficult thing to do and may simply cause further distress and upset which in turn then ripples out and impacts upon other decisions that are equally important and need to be considered. A sensible solution is obviously to try and reach an agreement with the other party as early as possible by setting out who is to retain what in a schedule and where possible have these items sent or collected by the other party (at their cost). This then leaves room for other issues to be discussed and hopefully reduces any hostility there may be surrounding who is to keep the silver photo frame that was a wedding gift, or the ceramic bowl that was given as a gift by a great Aunt one anniversary.
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