What About the Furniture?

settee-147701__180So, what about the furniture?  Clients will often ask how to deal with the furniture when they divorcing.  Sometimes the physical items also include things like tools, music and camera equipment.  How are these things to be valued and split in a reasonable fashion?

There are a few options available to couples when it comes time to split the furniture and other items.  You can have them appraised.  If you are like most folks, your furniture probably cost you more than it’s currently worth so it’s hard to put a number on it.  Do you value it at what you think you might get for it?  Is that sofa that you paid $2,000 for really worth only half that only a couple of years later?

What are the Options?

In the end, what you and your spouse agree to is what the legal team will work with.  I’ve seen people get an appraiser to value the furniture. Then the couple split the value by divvying up the furniture on a 50/50 basis.  Other couples decide to draw the name of who picks first and then go through the house on an item-by-item basis rotating their desired pieces one at a time.  It’s time consuming but it works.  I’ve also seen people work out a spreadsheet of who took which furniture items and their values and then they divided them up based on who wanted which pieces.  Any unbalanced value was paid to the spouse who chose the least valued items.  An offset of costs, if you will.

People will work through all of their furniture choices and get stuck on one particular item that they both want.  In the end, the anger and resentment in not allowing their spouse to get that last cherished piece is, likely, not really about the furniture at all.  It could be about having the last word or the last demand for respect or even a way to stay in the fight and engage with their soon-to-be ex.

The same resolution process will be made when attempting to value other items such as tools, music or camera equipment.  If it’s jewelry or art that you need a valuation for, I’d prefer my clients seek an appraisal.

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