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The “Personal Property” Fight

Categorized as Property Division

Some of the items that divorcing parties become the most concerned about during their divorce are items that we classify as “personal property”. We classify electronics, such as televisions, Blu-ray players, Blu-ray collects, MP3 players, etc., as “personal property”.  We also classify other things as personal property that surprise a lot of divorcing parties.  For example, under Illinois law, pets, such as dogs, cats, birds and more, are also treated as “personal property”.  Jewelry (not heirlooms) is personal property.  So are books, furniture, bicycles, sporting goods, golf clubs, and clothing.

Many parties wonder how personal property will be divided upon divorce.  The best way to divide personal property is for the parties to organize this amongst themselves without utilizing the court system or their attorneys.  It is not cost effective for attorneys to charge parties to divide items of what are generally considered to be of nominal value (as opposed to larger assets such as retirement accounts or real property). Most clients are able to divide personal property on their own without attorney intervention. Specific items, such as family heirlooms, photographs and other items of sentimental value may require attorney intervention. However, generally divorcing parties can figure out who will take which television set.

One of the reasons why parties are able to divide personal property on their own is because they learn from their attorneys that if they disagree as to who will retain specific personal property, the Judge usually will order it sold and that the parties are to split the proceeds. This goes for pets as well, unfortunately. So, most parties are able to figure out some sort of arrangement, for fear of their property becoming sold for cash. It is most cost effective for parties to try and divide personal property amongst themselves, and only to get attorneys involved for items of larger or sentimental value, and most divorcing parties are able to do this on their own.

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