Tips for splitting your household possessions

By February 22, 2021Blog

All the possessions you’ve accumulated over the course of your relationship need to be divided – from the furniture and white goods, to pots and pans, entertainment equipment, collectables, photos, artwork, sentimental items and everything in between…

For many couples, working through the list of possessions and deciding who keeps what can cause a lot of conflict. In fact, it’s often the most hotly contested part of a property settlement.

Over the years I’ve seen many drawn out disputes between couples over a possession, that end up racking up legal bills far higher than the cost of simply replacing the item.

It’s natural for emotions to run high when it comes to our possessions – but it’s important to ‘pick your battles’ and focus on what really matters, rather than ‘matters of principle’.

If you are leaving the home it is wise to take your personal and sentimental items with you to ensure they’re safe. Sadly, in high conflict situations I’ve seen personal possessions destroyed, damaged or lost. While this behaviour isn’t condoned by the courts, the chance of getting compensation for these items is low.

While every separation and property settlement is unique, generally speaking:

  • the value of ‘household’ items is based on the second hand value (not insurance value).
  • personal possessions or items gifted or inherited are normally retained by the person who received them.
  • items bought for children should be kept where the child lives primarily, or where practical go back and forth when the child visits each parent.

When helping my clients work through their property settlements and household possessions, I encourage them to:

  • aim for an equitable distribution of larger items that are costly to replace, like white goods, TV’s and larger furniture.
  • work through the process with an accredited mediator if they are struggling to reach agreement.
  • consider selling anything that you can’t agree on and adding the proceeds to the pot.

If you’re struggling with a separation or property settlement, feel free to get in touch – we’re here to help you understand your different options, how the law applies to your situation and offer valuable advice.