You don’t say what you have spent money on already or whether you are “dividing the contents of the home” by negotiating a Separation Agreement or are presently in litigation in an Equitable Distribution court action. My advice is geered towards people who are trying to divide personal property outside of court.
I suggest proceeding as we do when negotiating and drafting Separation Agreements that divide personal property; start by making a complete list of all items that both parties want and collecting the most current statement on all of your assets (e.g. tax statements; tax returns; bank, stock and retirement accounts) and debts (e.g. mortgage payoff statements; credit card, taxes owed). Each party can suggest an estimated value, if the “value” is an issue, and support their estimated value with pertinent documentation (e.g. receipts, appraisals, account statements). There are two ways to value personal property, depreciated value or replacement value. It can be helpful to reach agreement on the valuation technique in advance. Once there is agreement on which items are to be divided, try to assign each item a value on which you can agree based on the documentation you have. If neither party will budge on his or her estimated value, sometimes it is advisable to simply compromise on the average between the estimated value of each party (e.g. husband says living room furniture is worth $1,000 and produces the receipt showing parties paid $2,000 2 years ago. Wife says that the furniture can been damaged and estimates the value at $600; the average is $800 – the parties may agree to value the furniture at $800).
Robin F. Verhoeven
Attorney at Law
Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
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.