Dividing Dishware & Beanie Babies

Posted: 9 October, 2021


Do you and your spouse need to divide the dishes, silverware or Beanie Babies during a divorce?

Yes, your dishware and other personal property, like a Beanie Baby collection, need to be divided evenly in a divorce.  Appliances, furniture, tools, furniture, and even the PlayStation(s) (for those gamers) are divided.  Technically, cars, RV’s, and boats are property too.  Most “big ticket” property items like these are divided separately from the smaller items we call “personal property”.

There are two main ways the court, or couples if they can agree, divide personal property.   The property can be valued and divided evenly based on value.  Or the couples can create what the courts call an A/B list.

Valuing requires you to list every item, value it, and then dividing the items equally based on value.  Valuing personal property is not the typical method.   It’s too time consuming.  Spouses walk through the house taking pictures of every item.  An appraiser then values the items.   Two lists are then created based on value.  Valuing all of the dishware, furniture, and tools takes a lot of time.   Unless you are Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen you will spend more in attorney fees valuing the property than what the property is worth.

The preferred method is an A/B list.  With this method, one spouse prepares two lists.  An A list and a B list.   They add each item to the A or B list.   The other spouse is then free to choose the A or B list as their property.   This system forces the preparing spouse to create equal lists.   They would not put all the good items on the A list because the other spouse may choose the A list.

I remember my mom using this method.  If there was one cookie left my mom would designate me or my brother to cut it.  The other would get to choose which half to take.  This forced whoever was doing the cutting to cut the cookie equally.

The other reasons the A/B list method is preferred is sentimental items.    It’s hard to value photos,  your child’s first toy, or a wedding gift from a relative who has passed away.    The A/B list doesn’t use “economic” value, so you don’t run into this problem.  Note, we don’t usually need to divide photos.   We recommend spouses to color copy the photos they would like copies of.   This way they both have a copy.

There are a few, less commons ways to divide your personal property.   Spouses could sell everything and divide the cash.   You are turning all your property into cash.  Cash is easy to divide evenly.    Instead of a A/B list spouses can do a draft.   Just a like the NFL does.    The picture above is a couple doing a draft of Beanie Babies.  Wife picks an item then husband picks an item.   You repeat until all the items are picked.

The A/B list method is by far the most common used.  It is simple, fair and effective.