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divorce division

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

Going through a divorce is never easy. However, there are certain parts of the divorce process that should be easier than others. Certainly, decisions about children can be difficult. Coming up with alimony that both parties can live with is often challenging. Valuing businesses and other significant assets and determining the “marital” value is complex. As a general rule, the family law courts in Florida, for the most part, read “equitable” distribution of assets as equal distribution of assets. So why (I often ask myself) do clients fight about true “things?”
First, what are “things?” “Things” in my dictionary (Cindy Vova’s 4th edition, for the semi-modern over-50 American English speaker) are tantamount to “stuff.” “Stuff” by definition (see dictionary above) are the articles that have accumulated in your home and surrounding environment that you think are worth lots and lots but, in reality if you had to sell them, would yield pennies on the dollar. Yes, it is the couch you bought for $4000.00 that you’d get maybe $250 for now; the BIG SCREEN TELEVISION that was $6000 and now (new) would be $1000.00 and used would be (on a good day) $500.00. (give it to the husband- men have over emotional involvement with their tvs) You get the idea.
I just love when clients hand me their initial financial affidavits and value their Ikea furniture at $50,000.00. Now, mind you, there is nothing wrong with Ikea furniture…in fact, I really like a lot of that store’s stuff. However, whether you bought it in Ikea, City Furniture, Baers or Roche Bobois, once your rear sits on that couch for a while the value of that used couch also hits bottom.
So here’s the point. If you are going though a divorce and need to divide up the “things” and “stuff” think about this….if a hurricane was coming tomorrow and potentially all of your “things” and “stuff” would be destroyed, what would you take with you to put in a safe place? If it is not your family (and pets, of course) that first comes to mind, you need to rethink a lot.
After that, if there is something with true sentimental value, then, okay, that makes sense. I personally always think about grabbing pictures (and my insurance policies). So, in a divorce, if you both want the pictures, those are easy enough to duplicate. The rest, well, at the end of the day it just isn’t worth fighting about. Those pictures, however, are keepers. They are a constant reminder to all of us that the best things in life aren’t things!
Here’s to making some memories with our families this weekend. Those are “things” that last forever.

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