When you’re aiming to have an uncontested (not litigated) divorce, cooperation with your future ex-spouse is key – especially when it comes to dividing up the marital assets. Deciding who gets what car, what happens to the money in your savings accounts and what happens to the house can all be tough.
For a lot of divorcing couples, however, dividing the house isn’t nearly as difficult as dividing all of the stuff inside the house. Sentimentality, power struggles, unequal levels of attachment and financial factors can all come into play during this delicate process. Here are some tips that can keep your divorce moving along as smoothly as possible:
Take an inventory
Before making any decisions, take an inventory of all the household items. Create a comprehensive list of furniture, electronics, appliances, décor and personal belongings. Go room-by-room, to keep things straight, and don’t forget the attic, garage, storage compartments and basement. This list will serve as a reference point and help ensure that nothing is overlooked during the division process.
Categorize and group
Categorize items into different groups, such as kitchenware, furniture, electronics and personal items. Once categorized, decide how these items will be allocated. For example, you may want to agree that the couch, living room chairs and coffee table all go together as a set, as does the furniture from the master bedroom, the glassware from the kitchen and the tools in the garage. If there are any items of unusual value, separate them out so that you can deal with them the way you would other big-ticket items, like your cars. That can help make the division process a lot simpler.
Talk openly about priorities
Not everything will hold equal sentimental or practical value for both of you. Your spouse may be pretty handy, while you barely know how a screwdriver functions, so it may simply make more sense for them to take the tools in the garage. Meanwhile, you may have a large room full of craft supplies that your spouse would never use. Discuss these items openly and consider allocating those items according to who actually wants them.
Finally, approach the division process with the idea that fairness and compromise can take you a long way toward your goal. Neither of you will probably get to keep everything you want. Be prepared for a lot of trade-offs. As long as you both agree that your division process is fair, you can avoid ending up in front of a judge to battle it out and to have no control over what they ultimately decide on your behalf.