Many spouses don’t realize that during a divorce, just about everything is fair game when it comes time for the division of assets. There are many, many cases of divorces that have gone right off the rails and into the deep end over items that to any outside observer would seem fairly insignificant (except for pets, of course).
What kinds of things do spouses fight over? It can be anything, really. But generally speaking, there are a handful of items large and small that are often the cause of bitter disagreement.
Big Ticket Items
The family home or homes are, no surprise, frequently a point of contention in a divorce. Whether the house is sold or one spouse keeps it, few things are as frequently argued about during the division of assets.
Cars are usually the other big-ticket item in a divorce that cause headaches for divorce attorneys, mediators, and judges. Cars often have sentimental value, especially if they’re vintage or one spouse has invested a lot of time and money in them.
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Whether it’s a dog, cat, or just a goldfish, family pets can be a real minefield when spouses are negotiating their separation. It’s not uncommon for married couples that don’t have children to have a similar level of care for and attachment to their pets. This is especially true if the pets were acquired after the couple got together.
One of the most difficult realities of the divorce process for pet owners is finding out that (most of the time) pets are considered property just like anything else, from a legal perspective. While some judges will consider pets in a different light than, say, a couch or television, it’s important to know that if one spouse is the clear owner, they’re more likely to keep them.
Items With Sentimental Value
Many spouses assume that once the houses, cars, and pets are divided up, everything else is somewhat trivial. While this does happen, there are usually a few things in every divorce that one or the other spouse suddenly realizes they just can’t live without.
Common examples include:
Some of these things may be collecting dust in an attic, closet, or basement, but once the division of assets gets underway, they suddenly take on new value.
It can be hard, in the heat of the moment, to be objective about some of these things. Often the item in question becomes a proxy for one spouse’s emotions, and losing that item can feel like losing the entire battle.
Letting Your Attorney Help
In addition to helping you navigate the legal process of divorce, your family law attorney is there to protect your interests, and frequently to protect you from yourself.
While it may seem absolutely worthwhile to go to war over that mug with the broken handle your spouse gave you for Valentine’s Day one year, an experienced attorney is there to be objective and provide a steadying hand. Divorce lawyers have seen just about every scenario under the sun, and taking advantage of their advice and experience is the best investment you can make.