As well-seasoned divorce lawyers, we created a series of blogs for those of you thinking of divorce in Arkansas. For information about Leigh Law’s Family & Domestic Law services, click here. We also answer several of your most common questions on our FAQ page.
This Article is About Dividing Personal Property in an Arkansas Divorce
In comparison to the other blogs in this series, this one will be the shortest! We have the least to say about personal property division of all the areas one might fight over in a divorce.
What is Personal Property
Personal property is defined as anything that is not real estate. It can be big items such as cars, mobile homes, ATVs, and valuable coin or art collections. Or it can be small things like a dining room set, bedroom set, or silverware, dishes, and blenders. If it’s really valuable, then we typically will categorize it in the “asset” category instead of the personal property category. Personal property just conjures up anything you can buy on Amazon or at Target!
How to Handle Personal Property Disputes
The biggest money suck in a divorce is personal property division. It is a rabbit hole that is hard to get out of, once you start down it. Leigh Law applies a reasonableness approach to all types of cases; in divorces the most reasonable thing to do is to not fight over personal property! We will post and article here on reasonableness in litigation in the near future.
Can You Buy It at Walmart?
Whatever it is, if you can replace it at Walmart, it is absolutely not worth arguing over. Emotionally letting go is beneficial, and allows you to focus your emotional energy on issues that really do matter – custody, support, real property and asset/debt division.
Pettiness, revenge, and anger rear their ugly heads in personal property division more than any other issue in divorce. In one case many years ago we had a couple who hated each other. We’d settled everything except some furniture. One spouse wanted the living room set. We finally got the other spouse to agree to give up interest in the living room set. It was all typed up and ready to go – when the one spouse came in to sign, s(he) announces that the agreement was for the loveseat and recliner only, not the matching large sofa! Oh. Em. Gee. I was so mad, I thought about quitting!!
Divorce Sucks, Petty Arguments Make It Worse
Getting divorced really sucks. I know that. But arguing over small, inexpensive, petty things makes it worse (and more expensive). On top of that, it annoys the judges to death and takes attention away from big issues that really do matter, and will continue to matter well beyond the completion of the divorce.
When you leave, take your clothes, jewelry, and bigger items like furniture you can work out directly with your spouse, if possible. The more you can avoid taking minor personal property issues to trial, the more the court can pay attention to put decisions in other areas that do matter and have lasting consequences on you and your children.
Items That Have Sentimental Value
The one possible exception is for objectively low-value items that have emotional meaning to you. Ideally, when you leave, you should take anything with sentimental value with you so as to not give your spouse the opportunity to destroy it and deny knowledge. Remember, in personal property disputes the burden is on us to PROVE that the other spouse took the item or destroyed it. Without video or photo proof that is very hard to prove. If spouse denies it we would likely not prevail.
Listen to your lawyers and take our advice!
Call For A Free Case Evaluation
Case evaluations are completely free; our fees are flat and affordable. Call Leigh Law today at (501) 227-ROAR or Email Us to ensure that you are making wise decisions now which will last far beyond the entry of the divorce decree.