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Why personal property is important during a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Community Property Division

People preparing for divorce often face so many challenges that they focus on one or two main issues. Often, those concerned about property division matters prioritize family businesses, retirement savings or real estate. They might overlook other resources that could potentially have a major impact on the outcome of the divorce process.

California has a community property law that applies when people divorce. Both spouses have an interest in the income and assets of the other acquired during the marriage. In the event of a divorce, the spouses have to work out a way to divide their marital property. If they cannot, then a judge makes those key decisions for them. Personal property can be an important but easy-to-overlook element of property division negotiations or litigation in California.

Personal property can be deceptively valuable

There are many reasons that people gloss over personal property during divorce proceedings. They feel like focusing on them too much might look petty to their spouse or other people. They might assume that those assets have minimal value. They also likely already know that they don’t want their spouse’s collection of designer ties or HD gaming setup.

The lack of a desire to retain assets in a divorce does not make those assets negligible. People still need to factor in their value when determining how they should address other resources from the marriage. One spouse does not have to force the other to sell their cutting-edge gaming setup, but they can ask for their share of its value in the form of other marital property.

It is, therefore, crucial to have a thorough understanding of the personal property that belongs to both spouses. Beyond that, people need to understand what that property is worth. Electronics, collectibles, fine art and even wardrobes can be worth thousands of dollars.

Those who determine what assets they and their spouses acquired during marriage are in a more favorable position to demand a reasonable division of their marital property. Accounting for personal property during asset division negotiations can be as important as securing fair terms for bigger assets. Spouses who identify all marital property can potentially put themselves in the best position possible when dealing with asset division matters.