How Do You Value and Divide Furniture, Furnishings and Appliances?

How do you value and divide furniture, furnishings and appliances in a California divorce?

Valuing and dividing furniture, furnishings and appliances should be easy. Spending significant time and therefore money on such issues is often a waste of both. We will show you in this article how to value and divide such items.

How do I value furniture, furnishings and appliances?

You value your furniture, furnishings and appliances by determining what a bona fide third party would pay for that item in its current state and condition. Some people call this "the garage sale" value. That may be true with some items but usually not with each one, as garage sale value implies a desire to get rid of the property, versus receiving fair market value for. If you have a 10-year-old sofa, chances are you are not going to get much value for it. If you have a one-year-old sofa in perfect condition, that value will be higher.

You do not use your original purchase price value for the furniture, furnishings and appliances. If you believe an item could be worth more, complete a formal appraisal to determine the fair market value of the item. You will need to pay for the appraiser if you and your spouse cannot agree to the item's value.

What we write in this article does not apply to antiques. We provide you with a link below regarding division and evaluation of antiques in a California divorce.

Dividing furniture, furnishing and appliances

When household items, including your furniture, furnishings and appliances do not have a substantial value, spouses will equally divide the items based on agreed-upon method. One option is for spouses to alternate picking an item until all of the items are divided (absent personal effects). Another option is for spouses to divide the rooms in their residence and take furniture from certain rooms.

One spouse could potentially receive furniture, furnishings and appliances with a greater combined value than the other spouse's combined value. In this situation, the spouse who received the total lesser value would be entitled to an equalization payment.

An equalization payment is a monetary amount owed from one spouse to the other spouse to ensure the property division is equal or near equal pursuant to California community property law. For example, if one party received furniture, furnishings and appliances with a total combined value of $5,000 and the other spouse received furniture, furnishings and appliances with a total combined value of $1,000, the spouse with the furniture, furnishings and appliances valuing at $5,000 would owe the other spouse an equalization payment of $2,000.

Disclosure of furniture, furnishings and appliances

When you complete your preliminary declarations of disclosures, you will identify all of your furniture, furnishings, and appliances. It is important you list the furniture, furnishings and appliances accurately.

If you are the spouse who continues to reside in the marital residence, you have a greater ability to list all of the items since you have immediate access to them.

Court involvement with dividing furniture, furnishing and appliances

Ideally, there is no need for the court to get involved on this issue. The same goes for attorney involvement. The court does not want to use judicial resources to go through evidence or a trial on how to divide these items. The court generally believes that after disclosures have been made, the parties and/or their attorneys can work together to reach a fair division pursuant to an agreement.

Unless there is a substantial disparity between each spouse's contended values for these assets, compromise and reach an agreement. In addition, you may damage your credibility with the court and show yourself as being unreasonable if you take unreasonable positions regarding division of such items. If there is a reasonable disagreement between you and your spouse regarding the value of such items, one or both of you can hire an expert appraiser to provide a value.

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