Jennifer Safian. Divorce and family mediator

{3 minutes to read}The divorce process is daunting in most situations, and often becomes even more overwhelming when the family home is filled with more than just the basics. With time, most homes are, and now the couple has to figure “who is going to take what.”
It is my belief that organization and structure can take away some of that stress. So I have chosen to write this article and the following two articles with the hope that it may help couples when facing such tasks.
For this purpose, I have created three different categories of “stuff:”
• The Basic furnishings with no real resale value
• The Art Works and Collectibles that have resale value
• All those things we gather and that we are attached to, for a variety of reasons
The Basics
Beds, sofas, lamps, tables, chairs, kitchen equipment, linens, and ….the hamper.
The basics are often the more “useful” items in your home. As you separate, you will be looking to furnish two separate homes going forward, so decisions need to be made. Rule No 1: Make it simple and don’t get stuck on the hamper.
First, create a list of the basic pieces that you have in your home. Decide who will take which piece, whether for personal preferences, and/or looking at the monetary value.
Some people chose to look at costs at the time of purchase, but not everyone keeps the original statement/bill, nor do most of us have a good enough memory to remember! The easiest alternative may be to find out the reasonable replacement value of the pieces that one of you will need to shop for. With that information, you will be able to figure out how to balance the cost of the pieces each of you is keeping and the amount of money you will need to purchase new ones.
Recently, I worked with Nicole and Bruno. They decided to put aside a sum of money from their joint account to pay for both their moving expenses, and basic furniture/furnishings for the second home. They actually even went shopping together to complete their children’s rooms in both homes, and bought a sofa and a television for the new residence!
If you and your spouse are not ready to go shopping together, that is just fine. But you need to determine how you want to proceed so you both feel that you have made a fair agreement.
Here are some of the resolutions I’ve seen in my daily practice:
• One spouse keeps all the basics and the other buys all new;
• The parties each pick out what they want and then after dividing up their savings, use their share to purchase replacement items;
• The couple puts aside an amount of money for both to use before dividing the savings;
• List items that neither wants possibly on eBay, Craig’s List or another venue of your choice, to try to sell them and divide the proceeds equally.
These are just a couple of suggestions for dealing with the Basics. If you have a more creative way to deal with these items during divorce or separation, feel free to share your thoughts in the box below. You may be able to help others going through a similar situation.
Jennifer Safian. Divorce and family mediator
divorce and family mediation
upper east side of Manhattan (NYC)
New York, NY
(212) 472-8626

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