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How to handle assets with sentimental value in your divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2024 | Family Law

As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, divorce is a major financial transaction that can shape your life for years to come. As a result, it’s crucial that you properly assess the marital estate and what you can do to obtain your fair share of it. Yet, there’s more to divorce than money.

In fact, there are probably several assets in the marital estate that you’re attached to, even though they may not have much monetary value. How should you handle sentimental assets in your divorce? Is there a way to gain control of those assets that are most important to you without losing out on the financial resource you need? These are important questions that we hope to answer here.

Tips for addressing sentimental assets in your divorce

Depending on your level of attachment to a certain asset, you might be willing to go so far as to give up key financial assets to retain something of sentimental value. Before you do that, we encourage you to consider the following:

  • Whether your sentimental asset can be reproduced or replaced: Some assets that carry sentimental value, like photographs, can be easily copied. But if you’re dealing with something like a piece of jewelry owned by a relative, then figuring out how to handle it in your divorce can be difficult. Consider whether there’s a way to have the asset replicated so that you can reduce the amount of conflict circling the asset in question.
  • Your ability to negotiate for the asset without giving away your intent: In many contested divorces, emotions run high with spouses looking for ways to cause pain to each other. It’s a sad reality, and one that you should be cognizant of as you move forward. With that in mind, see if you can develop a negotiation strategy that secures the asset in question without letting your spouse know how important it is to you. That way you prevent your spouse from using that asset to hold you hostage on other divorce issues.
  • The risks of litigation: A lot of people who go through divorce are so conflict-averse that they continue to give in until they get what they want instead of taking the matter to trial. This can result in poor financial outcomes. If your spouse is hesitant to give you the sentimental asset you’re seeking, then think about what kind of arguments you can make in court. You might find that by crafting persuasive arguments you can secure the sentimental asset while protecting your interests in other, more financially centered marital assets.

There’s no one way to approach the property division process in your divorce, especially when sentimental assets are in play. That’s why you may find it helpful to sit down and write a list of your priorities. This should give you direction as you build your divorce legal strategy.

Don’t leave your divorce and your future to chance

Some people who go through divorce just want to let the process play out, taking a passive role throughout. This is a big mistake that can prove costly in the end. Even though you may be hesitant to address your divorce head-on, you need to if you want to protect your future. So, if you’re ready to take the plunge into divorce, or even if you’ve already started the process, take the time needed to build the robust legal arguments that are best targeted at protecting your interests.