Every divorce is different. We can’t all have divorces full of smiles like the couple who recently made headlines on social media.
For some, divorce is an ugly tear, and leads to disagreements about who should get what. Divorce is emotional, but when dividing property and assets, it’s best to leave emotion aside and focus on a fair split. After all, the more you can work out together, the less you spend on lawyers.
Here are eight options for how to divide property during divorce:
Sale — For some, it’s easiest to sell everything, divide the money and start over.
Choose — Make a list of all marital property. Flip a coin to see who goes first, and each person takes turns choosing items.
Make a Deal — One spouse gets the car and furniture in exchange for giving up the house, for example. Work out a way to barter for things in exchange for others.
Appraisal and Choose — Have one spouse place a value on each item. The other gets to choose the items up to an agreed upon amount of the total value. For example, if you have decided to split everything 50-50, the spouse would choose what he/she wants up to half of the items.
Appraisal and Choose II — You might have a third party decide the value of items for you, and then you can take turns choosing items until you reach your set limit.
Auction/Bid — Either openly or in secret, each spouse can bid on items. Whoever bids the highest gets the item. If one person ends up with items valued at higher than his/her share of the total, he/she can pay the spouse to even things out.
Mediation — After trying one or two of the above methods without success, you might turn to a mediator to help guide you through the process. An outside party can bring the non-emotional perspective you need to fairly separate your stuff.
Arbitration — No luck with mediation? You might try arbitration. You and your spouse will present your arguments and let the arbiter decide. Beware: It’s a legally binding decision.
Want to learn more about dividing property, assets, and retirement plans during divorce? Check out our divorce workshop, where an attorney, a therapist, and a financial adviser give you the straight talk on what to expect during divorce.