In a divorce, all community property needs to be equitably divided between the two marital parties. This includes personal property or the items and belongings you have in your home or stored somewhere.

Personal property, as opposed to real property, can be more easily divided than something like a house. Personal property may be termed ‘yours’ or ‘mine’ during a marriage but upon divorce or separation, they have to be divided if they are community property.

The first step to doing this is to take stock of all your personal property. Identify the items you entered the marriage with; these items will be separate property. The items left, acquired during the marriage, will need to be divided. If you or your spouse took belongings with you when you moved out, that does not necessarily mean those are now your personal belongings. It doesn’t cease being community property until it is properly divided under the community property principle.

If you and your spouse are in agreement about who will take what, your legwork may be done as long as the general division seems reasonable to the judge and the division will not in any way be of detriment to any children of the marital community. Remember, a judge will still have to sign off on your proposed division of personal property for it to be an enforceable division. If you are not in agreement, the next step is to value the property so you can reach an equitable division. Remember, for the purposes of the divorce process, property needs to be divided off of economic value, not sentimental value.

A general rule of thumb for assessing the value of personal belongings is to value them either off the purchase value taking into consideration depreciation or to value them at the fair market value they would get today, as used items. It is important to get a proper valuation of all personal property before you agree to any proposed division. Over the course of a marriage, household items like furniture, artwork, clothing or home electronics can be of a great sum value. Being aware of that value is the first step to achieving a just and fair divorce judgment.

If you have questions about property division and are in the Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades or Beverley Hills area, family law attorney Mark H. Karney can provide expert and efficient legal counsel. As a Certified Family Law Specialist, Los Angeles family law attorney Mark H. Karney can work with you to assess the true value of your property. Call our Los Angeles office today at 310-622-9434; email us at or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.