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In many marriages, the idea of “what’s mine is yours,” is a common way of thinking. You may come together with your own belongings, but then you make purchases together such as a home, furniture, and other household items. Typically, the items are jointly owned property.

But, when facing a divorce, the attitudes change and spouses want to clearly determine what is theirs and what is their spouses. For some, this may be easy. But, this is not always the case.

Here is how Arizona law looks at the division of household assets:

  • Generally, household items are valued in a divorce at their garage sale (resale) price. With the exception of items of significant value, such as collectible art or antiques, you should strive to divide such property as evenly as possible without valuing it.
  • Any items you had before marriage or which were inherited or gifted to you during the marriage remain yours and are excluded from the equal division. In the alternative, if one of you wishes to retain the majority of items (if for instance you are receiving the family home and wish to keep most of the furnishings intact), you can agree on a resale price and buy out the other person’s interest.

The best approach is to treat items of significant value separately from your other furnishings and decorations, and obtain appraisals if you disagree as to value. Although not always easy, it is recommended to separate your emotional attachment to certain items to facilitate this property division. If your decisions regarding personal property are emotionally motivated, it can lead to spending more time and money arguing about property than the property is even worth. Moreover, If you cannot come to an agreement and a judge is asked to rule on the division of property, the judge will most likely order everything be sold and the proceeds divided between you and your spouse. Naturally, this is not necessarily the best solution since you will need to replace everything at a much higher cost.

Contact us at Hallier Stearns PLC to learn more about asset division and other divorce-related issues.