For most people, their “American dream” includes owning their own home. The marital residence often represents a significant portion of the parties’ total estate, and can sometimes be the most valuable asset to be divided in a divorce. There are several options for dividing the worth of the marital residence, but the contents of the home will also need to be divided. Everything from hand towels to lawn equipment will need to be divided between the parties. Dividing equipment that is important to the home is an important step in your divorce case.
Minnesota is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that during a divorce, a court will make an equitable distribution of the marital assets. Equitable does not always mean equal, and a court will look at a specific set of factors when deciding how the property should be divided. Many personal property items can be divided equally, such as flatware or sheet sets. The court may have a more significant challenge when dividing items that are more integral to the home, such as ceiling fans, light fixtures, or a dishwasher. A divorce litigant asking to divide the fixtures in the home is not particularly common, but there are times when it could be appropriate. For example, if the parties have a valuable chandelier, one party may ask the court to be awarded that light fixture, even if he or she is not asking to be awarded the marital residence. If you are asking to be awarded unique or unusual fixtures from the home, it is often a show of good faith to the judge to offer to have the fixture replaced. In other words, if you want to be awarded the original claw-footed bathtub, you should be prepared to offer to have the tub replaced. Keep in mind that asking for ordinary or mundane fixtures to be removed from the home often comes across as petty and unreasonable to the judge. This is something important to consider before asking the court to allow you to remove fixtures.
It is common for parties to divide the appliances in the home. This is especially true when the plan is to sell the marital residence. When considering which appliances you want to ask for in your divorce, keep in mind your changing living situation. For example, if you are moving to a condo, asking to be awarded the zero turn lawn mower may not be the best use of your resources.
We have extensive experience assisting our clients with property division during divorce. Call us today at (320) 299-4249 and schedule a consultation.