When Getting Divorced Keep A Record Of All Your Possessions
Divorce is often described as a bereavement. Accepting change can be difficult, coming to terms with the loss of a relationship, the home and sentimental possessions can soon fuel our emotions, resulting in aggression, bullying and controlling behaviour.
Cheryl Carter of Every Home Matters UK has experienced clients in this situation: “For the person on the receiving end of this hostility, it can be very intimidating and difficult to negotiate the smallest issues, let alone the division of the home and its contents.”
But no matter how adversarial couples can become over possessions during divorce, at least they do have equal rights to those possessions. Up until the late nineteenth century, women were effectively chattels belonging to their husbands. On marriage, a woman’s possessions became her husband’s and she could not own property in her own right.
In a way, the woman herself was a ‘possession’ – of the husband. It took three Acts of Parliament, the Married Women’s Property Acts of 1870, 1882 and 1893 to change things. Now the law allows married women to keep possession of their own earnings, the property they owned before their marriage and property acquired during marriage, such as an inheritance.
Happily, these days “chattels” are not women or children, but instead the term refers to personal possessions. This means the contents of your home, cars, pets etc, but not money, financial products or bricks-and-mortar property.
But how to prevent an almighty battle over the dog, the hoover and that antique dresser in the loft?
By preparing an independent inventory of all the possession at the beginning of the divorce and copying in both solicitors, the assets can be fairly distributed. Clinging on to possessions of no value out of spite and removing items from the matrimonial home without consent only adds more fuel to the fire.
If a compromise cannot be reached then Cheryl has a simple solution – those items should be gifted or sold so that neither party loses out.
Cheryl Carter supports divorcing couples with the practical elements of divorce:
Personal inventories can also be carried out by both parties with the use of inventory applications. Every Home Matters Ltd are currently developing their own to add to the wide range of resources they have available for their clients’ benefit.
Or you can call a professional like Cheryl direct, who can help you to get it all organised – and reduce the additional suffering that can ensue when couples fight over their chattels.
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