Yours, Mine, And Ours: An Inventory And Valuation Of Marital Property


If you are about to be divorced, don't make the mistake of assuming that you can keep certain items of property. Your chances of keeping property depend on a number of factors, and you can only help your case by providing your family attorney with accurate information about your belongings. Read on to find out more.

What Is Marital Property, and Why Does it Matter?

If you aren't careful, you could find yourself losing a valuable piece of property because you failed to properly designate it as separate. There are two different divorce provisions that categorize the things that you and your spouse own. The first is the automatic exclusion of property that belonged to you before you married, that was gifted to you, or that you inherited. The second is the way your state of residence handles family law. If you live in a community property state, everything that is not separate is considered the property of both parties together (a community of two). When a divorce happens, the property is split right down the middle — 50/50 (or as close as possible). In other states, the property is divided according to who bought the item, cared for it, used it, etc. This is known as equitable distribution. You may not need to know exactly how your belongings fall in the two categories, however. As long as you provide your attorney with good information, they will perform that task for you.

Perform an Asset Inventory

As soon as you know a divorce is imminent, begin making a list. List all property you and your spouse own, and include:

  • The item
  • When it came into ownership
  • Who bought or attained it
  • Whose money was used to buy it

In some cases, your divorce attorney will provide you with a list of common property categories to help jog your memory. If you have supporting documentation for any of the property, such as receipts, be sure to make copies and provide them also. Be sure to include real estate, bank and investment accounts, your pets, property in a bank box, vehicles, valuable jewelry and clothing, artwork, and furniture.

Valuing the Property

If you know the value of an item, list it. In some cases, a professional must be used to value property. This is especially true of collectibles, real estate, art, and jewelry. When a given piece of property becomes grounds for a divorce battle, expenses are sure to mount. Be sure to speak with your attorney about how contentious issues can cause a divorce to cost more and take more time.


19 March 2019

changing a child's last name after a divorce

When I began the divorce process, I knew that I wanted to change my name back to my maiden name. I no longer wanted to be associated with the family name of the man that I was divorcing. The problem was, I have three kids that all had their father's name. I wanted to know if I would be able to change their last names to my maiden name rather than having them carry that family's name for the rest of their lives. I found out a lot about what it would take and began working to create this blog to help other women wanting to do the same thing.