Sometimes, the things we own mean much more to us than their actual value. You might have sentimental attachment to something handed down to you from your grandmother, or there may be an object in your home that you received from your child at a particularly special time. Some people have keepsakes from friends and loved ones who have passed away.
Other objects represent something entirely different, such as the control you have over your life or the resentment that has grown between you and your spouse. As you approach your divorce with the task of dividing your belongings with your former partner, those objects may take on a new symbolism that may hinder your ability to negotiate for a fair settlement.
Making property division easier
It may be difficult to see it now, but choosing to mediate your divorce improves the chances that you will move into your post-divorce life with a more positive outlook. Mediation often limits the amount of stress and contention between divorcing spouses, allowing them to work through their decisions with dignity and empathy. However, if you dread the contests ahead of you as you and your spouse begin property division, you may benefit from advice from a counselor who has guided many couples through this process.
Since California is a community property state, you and your spouse will be aiming to split your assets equally. This may take some time and compromise as you determine the actual value of each asset and balance your portion with your spouse's. Some suggestions for this process include:
- Understand the laws regarding property division in California.
- Deal with the easy issues first and save the tough questions for mediation.
- Remember that the court will not consider your emotional attachment to any piece of property, only the financial value.
- Try not to allow the process to stall because of a disagreement over little things.
- Keep focused on the fact that property division sets the stage for your financial security in the years following your divorce.
- Never hide assets.
Hiding assets is against the law, and your spouse's attorney is likely attuned to signs that you have assets put back for yourself. This could result in serious trouble for you, including additional legal expenses and the reduction of your share of marital property.
You may want to seek advice for these and other areas of your divorce, and it may help to talk to friends who have gone through this themselves. However, you will find the most knowledgeable advice will come from an experienced family law attorney who is committed to helping couples successfully through the process of divorce mediation.