Creating a household inventory list can make it easier to divide household items fairly and equitably during a divorce.
Each spouse should create an inventory of household items. The household inventory list should include all furniture, appliances, artwork, tools, sports equipment, electronic devices, TVs, computers, tablets, cellular phones, photos, antiques, sentimental items, and all personal items inside the home. The inventory should also list an estimated value for all household items.
This article will give you a list of all items that should be contained in the household inventory list.
List all Furniture
Start your inventory by documenting each piece of furniture in the house. List each piece of furniture on the list. Next to each piece of furniture, list an estimated price.
I recommend going through each room, one at a time. For each room, list every piece of furniture, large and small. Be sure to include all the significant pieces of furniture, including beds, nightstands, dressers, tables, couches, outdoor furniture, desks, and credenzas and armoires. As you go through the room, list all the smaller furniture, including rugs, coffee tables, mirrors, footstools, lamps, and bar stools.
While documenting furniture, remember to look in the garage and any storage facilities where furniture might be stored.
If possible, spouses should determine who uses the furniture most or needs it the most when deciding how to divide it.
If you still have the receipts for the furniture purchase, this will give you a good starting point for determining value. Used furniture is not as valuable as new furniture, but looking at the original purchase price can help estimate the value at the time of the divorce.
List all Electronic Devices
A couple’s electronic devices are often some of the most valuable household items. It would be best if you went from room to room and documented the electronic devices in each room. Include the manufacturer’s make and model so a neutral third party can verify an estimated value if a dispute on value arises.
Electronic devices include all desktop computers and monitors, printers, laptops, tablets, and cellular phones. It would also have all TVs, media players, speakers, surround sound, stereos, and speakers.
If you still have the receipts for purchasing the electronic devices, this will give you a good starting point for determining value. Used electronic equipment is less valuable than new electronic equipment, but looking at the original purchase price can help estimate the value at the time of the divorce.
List all Sporting Equipment and Tools
A couple’s sporting equipment can also be expensive and should be listed on the household inventory list. Go through the garage and any storage facility and list all sporting equipment and tools. If you have a home gym, go to it and list all gym and exercise equipment.
Sporting equipment would include guns, treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, golf clubs, tennis equipment, and fishing and boating equipment. You should also make a list of all tools in the garage.
If you still have the receipts for purchasing the sporting equipment, this will give you a good starting point for determining value. Used sporting equipment is not as valuable as new, but looking at the original purchase price can help estimate the value at the time of the divorce.
List all Art, Antiques, and Collectibles
Artwork, antiques, and collectibles typically maintain a significant value. Inherited items hold sentimental value even if they don’t have much monetary value.
It would be best to go from room to room and list all artwork, antiques, and collectibles. The artwork and antiques should be taken to an appraiser so an accurate value can be estimated and included in the household inventory.
Collectible items like coins, trading cards, memorabilia, and toys, can be difficult to value without the assistance of an appraiser. Each collectible should be individually listed and valued. If there is going to be a dispute about the value of any collection, it should also be professionally appraised.
Inherited items are not typically marital property, but I recommend a list be made along with an estimate of value for all sentimental items.
List all Appliances
It would be best to go through your laundry room, pantry, and kitchen and list all appliances and kitchenware. Estimated values should be listed while all appliances. While some kitchenware may have little value, some appliances like washers, dryers, vacuums, and blenders can be worth a substantial amount.
If you still have the receipts for the purchase of the appliances, this will give you a good starting point for determining value. Used appliances are not as valuable as new appliances, but looking at the original purchase price can help estimate the value at the time of the divorce.
Clothing and Jewelry
You should go through your closet and dressers and list all clothing and jewelry. The clothing can be listed in bulk unless specific items are expensive; they should be documented and valued separately.
It would be best if you listed all jewelry on the inventory. The jewelry should be taken to an appraiser so an accurate value can be ascertained and included in the household inventory.
List all Children’s Property
Children’s property, including toys and furniture, should be included in the household checklist and assigned a value. Many parents decide not to set a specific owner to those items unless there is an agreement they are to stay with the custodial parent.
How to Value Household Goods for a Divorce
As you make your household inventory list, you must assign values to each item.
When assigning values for your household items, the court will not be concerned with the value you place on many everyday things because of their low value.
You can determine how to divide household items fairly by deciding how much they are worth. Remember that most things lose a lot of value soon after being purchased, even if they’re just a few months old. Although the purchase price can be a starting point, depreciation has reduced its value. Calculating the potential value of an item is one option. Make sure to apply a uniform strategy across all goods, regardless of how you decide to account for depreciation.
If you agree on estimated values, you can use those figures to determine how you will split the items. You and your spouse can each list what you believe the household items are worth. Suppose you can’t agree on the values; you could take the average of the two figures to determine the item’s estimated value.
Obtain Professional Appraisals for Expensive Household Items
Appraisals are an alternative for expensive household objects like priceless artwork, jewelry, and antiques. Only use an appraisal for high-value items because it increases your costs.
Setting a minimal value is one technique to determine what should be assessed. Everything worth more than that sum is valued by an appraiser. Consider taking a look at your homeowner’s insurance policy. Your homeowner’s policy’s insurance usually covers the household items that are likely deserving of an appraisal. It would be best if you and your spouse could agree on an appraiser and agree how you will split the appraiser’s fee.
If You Can’t Agree on a Value for Household Items, Have a Mediator Determine the Value
Suppose you and your spouse need help dividing the household items. In that case, one alternative is to allow a neutral third party, like a mediator, to help you figure out how to divide the marital property. Having a mediator help access value is cheaper than paying lawyers to fight in court over the property division.
Marital Property Checklist
____ Marital home
____ Vacation home(s)
____ Business property
____ Rental property
____ Undeveloped land
____ Home furnishings
____ Precious metals
____ Coin collections
____ Sporting Equipment
____ Cellular Phones
____ Home office equipment
____ Motor vehicles
____ Recreational vehicles
____ Cash on hand
____ Checking accounts
____ Savings accounts
____ Money market accounts
____ Certificates of deposit
____ Christmas club accounts
____ Educational accounts
____ Retirement accounts
____ 401(k) plans
____ Profit sharing
____ Stocks and bonds
____ Mutual funds
____ Certificates of deposit
____ Cryptocurrency and NFT
____ Cash value of life insurance policy