FAMILY LAW – WHAT HAPPENS TO HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE IN A DIVORCE? Often the question arises when a client is going through a divorce, “How do we go about dividing the furniture?”

It can be a bit of a contentious issue, particularly if one spouse is having to set up a new home and the other spouse is refusing to handover furniture or personal items acquired throughout the course of the marriage. There is also the situation that arises where certain personal items or furniture in the possession of one spouse go “missing”.

In the perfect world, separating spouses would sit down together and work out who will take what, however, this is not always possible. In circumstances where an agreement cannot be reached, there will need to be a sale of the items and a split of the money accordingly, or an agreed value reached so that the spouse who is keeping the items pays to the other their share of what they are worth. If the parties cannot agree on the value of the items, they would need to pay someone to assess their worth independently. The cost of asking someone to assess the value could turn out to be more than the value of the items.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, people are not interested in buying second hand furniture, especially with offers to buy new goods interest free and without the need to make a payment for 4 years. Generally, most people’s second hand household furniture is not worth very much despite what they may have been purchased for or the insured value. Generally, the attitude of the family court is that the value of furniture is consistent with what may be achieved at a second hand garage sale. It is unlikely that such furniture is worth more than $15,000.00 for most families.

Accordingly, it is usually not worthwhile spending a lot of time arguing over furniture particularly if you are asking your lawyer to make the argument for you. You might find that the end result is that the costs you pay to your lawyer to make that argument outweigh the value of the items you ultimately receive.

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