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Children’s Personal Items – 3 Considerations

When parents of minor children end their relationship, there are often questions regarding who gets to keep the children’s belongings. This issue is usually addressed during mediation or litigation, and resolved in the divorce decree. When it comes to the children’s bedroom furniture, it is often ordered that the kids keep their furniture at the home they will be spending the majority of their time. For more portable items, there may not be any mention of them in the decree, so parents have to figure these issues out on their own. Parents should consider the following:

  1. For special items like teddy bears and other comfort items, it is often best to allow the child to bring the items with the child from house to house. This can make the transition easier, and give the child some consistency.
  2. For clothes and hygiene items (toothbrushes, hairbrushes, etc.) it is best to have items at both houses. This avoids the risk that the child leaves the necessary items at the other parent’s home. We’ve had clients that even have coats waiting in the car so the child doesn’t bring his or her coat from house to house. This works for some families, but is unnecessary for others, who don’t mind sharing clothes.
  3. Special gifts often present tricky situations. A parent may spend a substantial amount on a gift for a child’s birthday or other holiday, and want the exclusive right to watch the child enjoy that toy. That said, it can make the transfer to the other parent’s house difficult for the child. He or she may be really excited to play with the toy and want to bring it along. In these cases, it may be helpful to prepare the child for the fact that they will not be pemitted to bring the toy along to the other parent’s house – don’t leave it for the minute they are supposed to leave. In the alternative, it is sometimes worth it to allow the child to bring the object with them. If you are worried about getting it back, it is helpful to get written agreement from the other parent that they will send it home with the child at the end of their residential time.

Transferring from one home to another can be tough on kids. Consider your kids’ best interests when you decide how to handle their personal belongings. If you have children and are facing divorce, pleasecontact us.