I left my husband 2 months ago without a single stick of furniture and just one suitcase of clothes. I am happy for my ex to keep the house and all the furniture and contents. I want to start afresh, with new stuff, without any reminders of my miserable marriage and old life. I have receipts for most of the furniture so it should be easy for him to pay me half of what we originally paid and I can move on….right?
If only things were so easy. Unfortunately, despite the fact that you have kept receipts for all your purchases, your ex will not be required by law to pay you for exactly half of the original cost for each item. You see, furniture, in property settlements is valued according to the current second-hand value rather than what you paid for them, or what they are insured for. These values are roughly calculated according to what an independent third party would be prepared to offer you if it were to be sold. A good guide is to look at the cost of similar items for sale at second-hand stores or online through sites such as Gumtree or ebay. In effect, contrary to the value of the furniture according to the receipts you have retained, these items will almost inevitably be valued at a fraction of this cost. Additionally you also need to factor in that furniture, especially electronics in the day of changing technology do not hold their value. The one exception to this is in the case of antiques or heirlooms which, despite age, may be of value. In this case the items will need to be valued by a qualified appraiser.
In terms of the overall property settlement the Court does not place a great deal of emphasis upon second-hand furniture. Generally the inherent value of second-hand furniture is deemed so small that is not worth the time (and money spent in legal costs) arguing over it.
While I can appreciate your need to ‘start afresh’ it is important that you undertake this with the understanding that what it is worth is far less than what is needed to replace the furniture. With this in mind it is often preferable for both parties to reach some level of negotiation about who gets what. After all, there is little point spending thousands in a legal fight over a table worth $50.
For legal advice and support in the event of a relationship break down speak to Joanna Diamantopoulos at Welden & Coluccio Lawyers.