Personal Property – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

“Personal property” is a legal term that covers all property that is not real property. It includes intangible property such as stocks, bonds and business goodwill. It also includes tangible property, such as cars, boats, clothing, jewelry and collectibles.

As a practical matter, when Alaska divorce lawyers and judges talk about personal property, we usually mean the contents of the home, such as collectibles, clothing, art and all of the other “stuff” in our lives.

Dividing Personal Property During Divorce

If a couple can agree on how to divide their personal property, they can simply make a list that shows who is getting what property. The couple can give the list to their lawyers; even if their case goes to trial, they will not have to spend time and money sorting out the division of their personal property.

Disagreements on Personal Property

If a couple disagrees on what to divide, how much it is worth, or who should get what, they ask their lawyers to attempt to negotiate a compromise. Otherwise, they have no choice but to pay their attorneys to go to trial to seek a court order.

When Property Division Slows Down the Divorce Process

Although it’s probably impossible to account for every last spoon, cup or saucer acquired by the parties during marriage, many divorce cases become extremely expensive and time-consuming when one or both of the parties are determined to include every single item in personal property division. 

In fact, many divorcing couples could replace the entire contents of their home for less than what they pay in attorney’s fees to fight about their personal property.

It is rare for the parties to leave a marriage or relationship feeling content about the division of their personal property. The best solution is to decide what things are most important to you, put them down on a list, give the list to the attorney, and then move forward with your life. 

Posted in: Divorce