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Property settlementDivorce and separationFinancial issues and settlement

Valuing household items during divorce

By January 24, 2018October 25th, 2021No Comments

When going through a divorce and property settlement, it’s important to ensure you have accurate and current valuations of everything in your net asset pool in order to negotiate a fair division. Whilst lawyers usually focus on houses, cars, boats, superannuation, your assets can include valuing household items and determining their ownership if items are valuable. For everyday household contents, lawyers will typically use low values, similar to what you might get if you sold everything at a garage sale, or an auction, or on Gumtree.

Courts use a four-step process when determining property settlements, assessing the following:

  1. the total value of assets and liabilities;
  2. the financial and non-financial contributions of both parties;
  3. if adjustments need to be made for either party’s future needs; and
  4. whether the end result is fair and equitable.

Household contents and furniture are included in step 1 of this process only if they are particularly valuable (eg a shed full of expensive tools which you might assess as valued at $50,000, or valuable art or antiques).  The sentimental value often exceeds the dollar value, but make sure you tell your lawyer about any items you particularly wish to keep in your property settlement.

Taking an inventory of your household contents and furniture and valuing household items is a time-consuming and often annoying task, and is usually not worth doing. If parties just can’t reach an agreement about how to divide contents, courts might order a “two list” approach be taken, where one party drafts two lists setting out how the household goods should be divided, and the other party takes their pick of the two lists. Alternatively, parties can go through a house and agree who keeps what. Alternatively, a party who has moved out sometimes takes what they wish to keep, leaving the balance to the spouse.

Note that the value of your household goods is not the same as the amount items may have been insured for.  Household contents and furniture are usually valued at second hand prices regardless of what insurance figures are used.

It can make a difference if you want to retain an item, or are happy to let your Ex have that item. If your Ex is receiving goods to the value of $5,000, you may end up getting a cash adjustment to make it up to you. Every case is unique, and your family law can discuss with you how much time and effort to expend on this.

Do you need assistance with a property settlement?  Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.

Please note our blogs are not legal advice.  For information on how to receive the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance.


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