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How Do We Divide Personal Property in a Wisconsin Divorce?

When people think about the property they will divide in a divorce, they often think of the major assets, like a home, retirement savings, and motor vehicles.

However, personal property will also be eligible for division in most Wisconsin divorces. This includes the items in your house that you’ve purchased or acquired during your marriage. Because it can be overwhelming to divide all this property, it can be helpful to follow a few basic suggestions for this process.

Making lists

Lists can streamline the process. Start by making a list of all the properties eligible for division. There are helpful home inventory lists available from numerous sites, including this one from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.

Once you have all the items listed out, you can organize them into three categories: keep, sell, and donate.

Assigning values

After you have your lists, you will assign values to many of the items you or your ex will keep or sell. Of course, you will not need to assign value to every item, particularly when it is not of significant value and there is no dispute over who keeps the item. However, if it is a sizable asset or one you are going to sell, keep track of the value to divide any proceeds accordingly.

You can figure out values by looking at what a specific item is selling for online in its current condition. In other words, you will use comparable resale values, not retail values. In cases of more expensive property, you can refer to an appraisal professional.

Dividing it up

There are many approaches to physically dividing personal property. One way to do this is to spend time separately in the house collecting the property you are keeping. Stick to your lists and make sure you don’t take anything that you shouldn’t.

In terms of selling, one of you might agree to hold a garage sale or post everything on Craigslist and split the profits afterward. Whatever you do, it can be wise to set a deadline for when a property must be claimed or sold. Any remaining property can be thrown away or donated.

While the dividing personal property may not be the most contentious element of property division, it can be complicated. However, these tips can make the process a little easier.