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Baltimore Divorce Lawyers: Disputes over Material Things during Divorce

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A recent study out of the U.K. revealed the top things that divorcing spouses are hiding from each other – and it’s not what you might expect. When surveyed, nearly half of people admit to hiding material possessions from their spouse just before or during their divorce in order to make sure they get the items they want after the split. Items included photos, keepsakes and family heirlooms. Researchers found that after money, everyday objects are the second biggest cause of disagreements in divorce. More than three quarters of the couples who participated in the study indicated that they fought over “who got what” at least once a week.

The items most commonly fought over during a divorce include:

  • TV and other electronics (37%)
  • Furniture (32%)
  • Car (26%)
  • Photos (24%)
  • Keepsakes (22%)
  • Heirlooms (21%)
  • Linens (10%)
  • CDs and records (9%)

Disputes over objects are more than just emotionally draining; they can drain your wallet, as well. Participants in the survey reported that these arguments extended their divorce process an average of six months and in most cases, the monetary value of the items were but a fraction of the cost in time and legal fees it took to win them.

Emotionally Charged Issue

It is not uncommon for people to become emotionally attached to what would otherwise be a relatively unimportant item. This response can manifest itself in different ways. Some spouses might want to hold on to an item because it reminds them of a happier time. Others may feel an impulsive need to throw it away or destroy it. The study showed that the average divorcing couple discards nearly $600 worth of items in anger. Moreover, many of the items, such as photographs and heirlooms, were irreplaceable and held significant value to the family. Of those who disposed of these types of things, almost half of them said they regretted it later.

Important Lessons

  • Choose your battles

Make a list of the items that are truly important to you. In some cases, it may be wise to take photos of the items, especially if they carry any significant monetary value. This can be particularly helpful in the event that anything goes mysteriously missing before the divorce is finalized.

Also, remember that the replacement cost of many household items rarely comes close to the cost of arguing over each one of them individually in court. Choose the objects that mean the most to you and save your energy and your finances for what really matters.

  • Examine your motives

Try to decide what it is that is driving you to want certain items so badly. Many people get caught up trying to punish the other person for things they did leading up to the split. They battle over material objects with the idea that if they “win” these items, they somehow “win” the divorce. But while taking away something of value from your spouse may feel good initially, the satisfaction is typically short-lived.

For some people, the fear of having to start over from scratch makes them want to hold on. These feelings are normal, especially if the marriage lasted several years or more. But now is the time for a fresh start. Instead of clutching to the past, embrace your new life and the freedom of choosing what to surround yourself with.

  • Keep it in perspective

When emotions are running high, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important. Battles over material possessions can become all consuming, leaving other parts of your life falling by the wayside. This can hurt you, your career and most of all, your children.

Feelings like anger, frustration and grief can impair good decision-making. Look to a trusted friend or family member to help you sort out which battles are worth fighting, and when it is time to let go and move on.

Baltimore Divorce Lawyers at the Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC Find Effective and Peaceful Solutions to Divorce Issues

Our Baltimore divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC are committed to helping clients resolve their divorce issues with as little stress as possible. We handle all types of divorce issues including equitable distribution, spousal support and alimony, child custody and child support. We have learned what it takes to resolve even the most contentious and complex divorce cases. To schedule your initial consultation, call 410-602-9522 today or contact us online.