When people think about what property will have to be divided up in a New Jersey Divorce, they often think of real estate, businesses, retirement accounts, bank accounts, or other large sums of money. But what about personal property?

In many cases, personal property gets overlooked. That is often OK; the value of a few articles of clothing, an old TV, or an iPad that is three generations old may not be worth the money to fight over.

But often, we have items of value that are personal property, that are not only valuable, but which will appreciate in value. Think of designer handbags, comic books, or instruments. How do these get divided up?

What is There? Do an Inventory

The first step is to identify and inventory the personal property items that you both own in the first place.

This may seem obvious, but in many divorces, spouses just assume that all personal property has little value or that it is not worth fighting over. That may be true for that old couch, but you may not have stopped to think about whether some collection your ex has, has a potential value now or in the future that is worth fighting for.

In many cases, spouses move out before the divorce is finalized. That is understandable. But what often happens is the spouse moving out packs their things, including an item of real value, without the other spouse even knowing.

You should insist on packing together or that you be able to look and make sure nothing of value is being taken away.

Who Gets What?

Once you have identified the property and its real value, what is actually yours?

Anything one of you got for or from the other as a gift is considered marital property and subject to division. Anything that was obtained by either spouse separately, such as a gift from an outside party or an inheritance, is not marital property. However, anything that may have been commingled with marital property can be considered marital property and thus subject to division.

Dividing Things Up

Once you have identified the personal property comes the process, legally, of actually dividing them up. This poses a special problem because you cannot physically just divide a guitar or handbag or comic book or whatever the valuable items may be.

That leaves only a few options. One party can take the property and then pay the other their share of the value of the property. Marital assets can be distributed so that they are balanced; that is, one person takes all of one piece of valuable property, and the other spouse takes the other.

In most cases, the parties divide personal property between themselves.  If unable to agree, they may be referred to mediation. On rare occasion, the court may be involved in dividing personal property.

Contact our New Jersey real estate attorneys at The Law Office of Agnes Rybar LLC today for help with property issues in your New Jersey Divorce.




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