One party buys more assets


Dear Marlee:

Greetings. 1. No, the law does not care how you titled your assets, or the typical pattern of acquiring wealth, it will all be divided equally in court if it is marital. 2. Everything you listed is personal property. The question usually becomes how much is it worth to fight over the personal property - and that amount is what keeps items on or off the list of items parties negotiate over. 3. Each court is treating this slightly differently. Many courtrooms that I have been in either look at consignment value or garage sale value (resale value) for personal property. Few people can afford a personal property appraiser or have assets sufficient for one to be hired. Best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


Hello. My spouse and I are working on dividing our marital assets. He is in his mid 30’s and I am 6 yrs older. We make the same income and have split the mortgage, utilities, and home improvement costs 50/50 since we got married. He insists that I should be “fair” and give him half the cost of my engagement ring since we’ve been together only 4 years (he knows by law it was a gift and not divisible though). He is also asking for half the value of the jewelry I’ve purchased for myself (bought for around $5K within past few years) with my own credit cards. All of our accounts (retirement, savings, checking, 401K, credit cards, car titles, debts w/ exception of our house) is in our individual names - we have never had any joint accounts. I also look at the assets in our home and feel as if I have purchased and solely paid for the higher priced tangible assets. I want to be fair about this but feel he has me over the barrel. He is not the best about saving money either. My questions (1) Is there any law that considers that we’ve both kept our financial accounts in separate names and our patterns of behavior show we buy and pay for our own things? (2) What is considered a personal article and is there a value to it? Is a personal article divisible? For example - a watch he bought for himself, my jewelry, an electric razor… is a personal article something under a certain dollar amount or something we purchased for ourselves that no one else will use? (3) Is the value of an item the market value and how do we figure out how much a piece of furniture costs now 2 years later? Thank you for your help - this forum is very educational.