How to Divide Household Items in a California Divorce

How to Divide Household Items in a California Divorce

Household, Sentimentals, Antiques:

Household items, like furniture, kitchen appliances and cookware, backyard furniture, and tools, also need to be divided. The court values these items at

resale value, not replacement value.

Make a list of what you have:

It's an acceptable choice to go through each room in the house and make a broad inventory of everything that is shared marital property, which could include:

  • Electric household appliances
  • Reclining chairs and sofas
  • Tables and sets for dining
  • Dinnerware sets
  • Outdoor equipment
  • Jewelry

Flip a Coin:

Couples can easily sit down and divide the items. If you have a hard time dividing the household items, you can list the disputed items in order of preference. Flip a coin with your spouse, and the winner of the coin toss goes first and picks an item on the list. Then it’s the other's turn to pick. Continue alternating turns.

You could also value the items. If you are unsure of the value of an item, look to find one in a similar condition online. If it’s an antique, art, heirloom, or collectible, you may want to appraise the item. Once you have a value, you can buy it from your spouse for one-half the value. If you both are willing to buy it, it might be whoever is willing to pay the most. If that doesn’t work, you can sell it and divide the proceeds.

If you can’t take the furniture:

this can be stressful because it typically costs more to replace household items. Even though it’s not what a judge might do, see if you can negotiate a replacement cost into the division.

You may also have significant rewards, like airline miles, credit card points, or special privileges. Airlines miles usually cost money to transfer from one person’s name to the other. If one of you has community miles, you can value the miles and the other spouse can receive one-half the value in cash or in another property. Or, the owner can hold the miles in the account, and when the spouse is ready to use them, the spouse that owns the miles will purchase the flight for the


You also can discuss how irreplaceable items like family photos, videos, or children’s crafts, are going to be shared to prevent any unpleasant surprises. With a little effort, you each can easily upload family photos and videos to a photo-sharing website or external hard drive. As for your children’s crafts, you can divide them or one of you can hold the items and give them to your children at an agreed to age.

Which things do not Include in Household Items:

Household items do not include your gifts, inheritance, or heirlooms. These are your separate property. If your spouse gave you a gift of a personal nature, such as an anniversary gift, then it is also considered your separate property. If the gift was substantial in value and purchased with community funds, and there’s no written agreement stating otherwise, then it can be considered part of the community division and not your separate gift. Substantial value depends on each family’s financial situation.

You can also be creative with the division of your property and debts. You can incorporate joint ownership of a property or a payment plan for an amount owed between you. This is one of the best advantages of having control of your divorce. Rather than approaching the property division in strict terms, you can negotiate an agreement that meets your personal goals.

Whatever you agree, once you have a divorce agreement about your property, it is final and cannot be changed, so make sure you take time to fully understand your property so that you make the right decisions.

At TheCompleteDivorce, we provide you with what you need to successfully do your California divorce on your own. We provide all the required family law court forms in our automated forms program, all the video tutorials, and an automated customizable Marital Settlement Agreement (Divorce Agreement). If you need more help, you can get our package which includes time with a divorce mediator.

Before you go, consider if we can help you. We have helped thousands of couples in California. Our guided DIY divorce is successful and cheap! Our services are all 5-star!