When dividing personal possessions in a divorce, remain focused on the future

The divorce process is often difficult and, with emotions running high, can lead a person to do or say things they'll later regret. Moving out of a shared home can be a particularly difficult task as personal items that harken memories of happier days or years must be sorted through and divvyed up.

Whether a divorcing couple agrees to sell a previously shared home or one spouse plans to stay in the home, certain property and personal items will need to be divided. When going through this process, it's wise to remain focused on the future and not dwell on the past.

At any time moving is a stressful event. However, when a move is the result of an impending divorce, the stress level can be magnified tenfold and have ugly consequences. Many couples are able to agree about the ownership of many household items. In cases where the rights to an item are in dispute, when possible, it's best to avoid fighting over physical possessions.

For valuable possessions, it's a good idea to obtain an estimate. Understanding the value of certain items is important when it comes to making other decisions with regard to the division of marital property. For example, if one spouse is allowed to keep a valuable painting, the other spouse should be compensated accordingly through the divorce settlement process.

While going through the physical process of moving out of a previously shared home, it's a good idea to enlist the assistance of close family members or friends. Not only can loved ones help sort, organize and pack; but they can also provide much-needed moral support. However, while love and support is needed during a move, it's not a good idea to include one's children in the process.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Avoid a tug-of-war in divorce moves," Peter Bacque, Oct. 25, 2014