After separation, many people want to discuss with their lawyers some of the immediate issues that need resolution: temporary child support, temporary parenting schedules, and who gets to live in the house. As part of these discussions (especially the one regarding which spouse gets to live in the home), they also want to talk about how to divide the household furniture (both during the temporary phase, and the final division). They want to know whether they can take the bedroom set to furnish their bedroom at their new apartment, or whether they can keep the kids’ beds.
In many cases, we encourage our clients to sort these issues out with the other party directly. (We would never encourage this in cases where allegations of domestic violence are at issue whether our client is the accused or the victim/accuser.) The reality is, we know that in many cases the furniture being argued over is not worth spending your legal fees on. The court will often attribute a value to the furniture based on what the furniture could be sold for at a garage sale. This means that many of the things you want to fight over will be worth just pennies on the dollar. Furthermore, the court will often look favorably on the party that is willing to negotiate regarding the small assets and not waste the parties’ resources (and the court’s time) on low-value items.
As such, we often encourage separated spouses to figure these things out based on necessity. For example, the spouse moving out of the family home will often take a guest room bedroom set for their new master bedroom. The party who has the kids the majority of the time often takes the kids furniture. Also, in many cases the parties both have items that were purchased to meet their specific needs and it often makes the most sense for that party to take these items with them (or keep them at the house as the case may be).
This isn’t to say that we aren’t willing to advocate for personal possessions of great value and/or importance to our client. Instead, it means that we are cognizant of how resources should be apportioned to efficiently bring our clients the best results we can.
Whether you’re worried about who gets the house, or who gets the couch, we’re here to listen and advocate for you.