Though a marriage is intended to last forever, it is not always the case. During the course of the relationship, the couple may have accumulated a number of items that may range from appliances to photographs to property that is of value to both individuals. When it comes time to divide the household contents, it can be difficult and emotional. This is especially true when an item cannot be divided in half, and this is true for a great many things. Here are some tips for making this process as easy as possible:

1.    Try to keep the process anger-free. This can be difficult during the best of times—the thought of never seeing a precious item may be cause for emotional distress. The thought of giving that precious item to the person you may never want to see again and may be very angry at could put you nearly over the edge. However, the less anger you exhibit and the more civil you can be, the faster the process can be concluded. Many people benefit from hiring a divorce lawyer to represent themselves and negotiate on their behalf. For example, if you do not want to lose a particular property, you should consider what you are willing to exchange for it.

2.    Do not try to hide your property. More than likely, you will not get away with it because your spouse’s divorce lawyer will probably find your “cache.” Your divorce lawyer may advise you that any assets you do not disclose to your spouse or their lawyer may result in penalties meted out by the divorce court Judge if they are discovered later.

3.    Be clear about what is considered community property versus separate property. This is how the assets are divided by the divorce court. Any assets you owned prior to the marriage (or common law marriage) will remain yours unless you otherwise specified as such in a pre-nuptial agreement. Community property is that which was acquired during the marriage. Separate property is that which was purchased by either individual prior to the marriage or else was acquired during the marriage with certain provisions. For example, assets inherited by one of the spouses or retirement earnings. There are other circumstances which prevents assets from being considered community property, and they can be clarified by your divorce lawyer. Have a thorough understanding of which of your assets fall into which category before you begin the process of dividing them.

4.    The divorce court judge will have the final say. When all is said and done, the judge either approve the agreement hammered out between your two divorce lawyers, or disapprove of it. If you cannot come to an agreement, the judge will decide for you and it may not be what you want, but you will have to abide by their decision.