Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP
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Separating sentimental value from monetary value during divorce

For many couples going through divorce, one of the first priorities is determining who gets what in terms of marital property. California is a community property state, meaning each spouse is entitled to half of jointly owned property and assets. Although it sounds straightforward, property division hardly ever comes down to a "50-50" split of marital assets.

Ideally, divorcing spouses will work with one another to divide marital property as fairly and amicably as possible. For example, if one spouse elects to stay in the family home, he or she will likely give up other assets to offset the difference. Whether these decisions are made by the couple through mediation and other ADR methods or by a judge, the monetary value assigned to property is an important factor in reaching a resolution.

But what happens when spouses focus on sentimental value as opposed to monetary value when making decisions regarding marital property and assets? Emotions may run high during divorce, but the courts are not equipped to valuate sentimental or emotional value.

In such cases, divorce proceedings can get bogged down as both parties struggle to reach agreements or choose to take the fight to court. Ultimately, failing to separate sentimental value from monetary value can drive up the cost of the divorce in terms of time, money and energy spent.

When preparing for your divorce, your attorney can help you keep emotions in check while identifying the difference between sentimental and monetary value. Instead of letting memories from the past color your proceedings, your lawyer will keep you focused on the present while looking toward the future.

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