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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-16-2009, 12:36 PM
Hephzibah Hephzibah is offline
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Default Division of Marital Assets

HISTORY:

When I left my ex, I went to the ER and then to an abuse shelter. Obviously, I didn't take but a shoulder bag of personal things.

He did give me most of my personal things; however, little of the furniture, appliances, housewares, etc. I got a waffle maker, two end tables, a file cabinet I didn't want, and two pieces of furniture he broke before he sent; and about 85% of items I brought into the marriage 10 years prior.

My lawyer had me itemize what he kept and what I received with prices - said I'd get monetary compensation instead of stuff. She said for my safety it was best to not fight for any of the stuff in the house. She did fight to get my passport; but didn't get my birth certificate or some other legal documents.

A couple months ago she told me I have to find the classified ad price for all the items in the home that he got and the classified ad price for what I got. This was opposite of what she'd had me compute earlier at what we'd paid for items. This was a shocker because we'd bought all new furniture, some of it special made, when we retired not quite two years before I had to leave.

It was impossible to set prices on some things: gifts my children had given me when they were boys, computer documents, financial documents, etc.

The divorce has been final since Sunday; however, the settlement hearings have not started because ex's lawyer can't find him... he refuses to answer his door, won't return phone calls, won't accept certified letters.

At the last hearing the judge told the lawyers since they have not came to a settlement in over a year that it is out of their hands and he will determine the settlement.

QUESTION:

Could the judge force me to take some of the furniture? Although at one time I wanted it; I realize that now it would bring back memories of the abuse. During the past year, I've slowly purchased furniture and appliances. Even if required to give me some of those things, I presume ex would destroy it or stain it before I would get it... like he did the two pieces of furniture he "allowed" me to have. If not, it would probably smell like tobacco since, without my presence, he's probably smoking in the home.

How much input will the lawyers have as the judge determines the settlement?

Thanks,

Hephzibah
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:48 PM
Max22258 Max22258 is offline
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You need to make a list of replacement cost, and this works like insurance. You had a dresser the exact replacement cost is ???. Do not go for used items as this will not reflect the real price that you have to pay. For damage items do the same things. Calculate also the hours you spend doing this and time for acquisition. Do not leave anything out like tax, gaz, meals etc.
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Old 09-16-2009, 11:39 PM
stressedby-X stressedby-X is offline
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My understanding of division of property is that you would only get garage sale prices not full replacement costs. I would make a list of the things in the home since the judge will decide of new costs and since EX is not showing up it should not be disputed. But judges generally won't take time to sort out marital property unless it is considerable value (boat, cars etc)

You are right it is just stuff that will remind you of unhappy times. I am wondering if you would be able to get in the home to gather those special items from your children and other documents that are important - perhaps a course order from the judge with an escort. Really I am not sure.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:18 AM
Hephzibah Hephzibah is offline
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Thanks Max and stressedby-X,

My lawyer said since garage sale prices of what he got is about $14K and what he "allowed" me to have is less than $1K, that the difference was so great that the court would have to do equalization payment. I made the list while I was in the shelter and the house contents was fresh on my mind. I looked up garage sale prices online to find similar items - then printed out the page with the price; that way it's easy to refer to each item on the spreadsheet and it's corresponding print-out.

I'd made two spreadsheets. One with big items - furniture, jewelry and appliances. The other spreadsheet included every tube of chapstick, every fork, every bed sheet, every washcloth, every snow shovel. It raised each of our totals about $1K; so the lawyer and I decided to stick with the short list.

I'd tried to get a police escort early on. The shelter and my lawyer both said they had to give me 15 minutes. They refused to do it as they "don't get involved in marital squabbles." The lady cop said that I'd just drag things out of the house to have to take them back the next week when I went back to my abuser. Case of job burn out, apparently.

My vehicle is 13 years old and I brought it into the marriage with only a couple payments to go; he bought a new SUV a couple years ago - so my lawyer says there will be equalization payment for that, too.

After being gone for 14 months, I would not know where to look for those items. I would presume he would have thrown them away just as a way to be mean.

Of course, all these equalization payments could be awarded to me and ex could sit on his behind and never sell the house or come up with the money unless the lawyer and judges got involved again. That is what I'm expecting. The other potential outcome is he would sell the house for almost nothing just to keep me from getting anything - even if he'd get nothing, too. Abusers don't think like regular people.

Thanks for your replies. It's really appreciated.
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