Divorce--Ten Ways to Divide Property Without a Fight

by Ed Sherman, Divorce Expert Attorney

If dividing your property is a problem, here are ten ways it can be done without a fight. The more things you can work out between you, the better your divorce will be. Just talk it over and agree to use a method you can both accept. This list was originally developed by Judge Robert K. Garth of Riverside, California as an aid to spouses having trouble reaching agreement about the division of their property.

  1. Barter: Each party takes certain items of property in exchange for other items. For instance, the car and furniture in exchange for the truck and tools.

  2. Choose items alternately: The spouses take turns selecting items from a list of all the marital property, without regard for the value of items selected.

  3. One spouse divides, the other chooses: One spouse divides all the marital property into two parts and the other spouse gets the choice of parts.

  4. One spouse values, the other chooses: One spouse places a value on each item of marital property and the other spouse gets the choice of items up to an agreed share of the total value.

  5. Appraisal and alternate selection: A third person (such as an appraiser) agreed upon by the parties places a value on contested items of marital property and the parties choose alternately until one spouse has chosen items worth his or her share of the marital property.

  6. Sale: Some or all of the marital property is sold and the proceeds divided.

  7. Secret bids: The spouses place secret bids on each item of marital property and the one who bids highest for an item gets it. Where one receives items that exceed his or her share of the total value, there will be an equalization payment to the other spouse.

  8. Private auction: The spouses openly bid against each other on each item of marital property. If one spouse gets more than their share, an equalization payment can be made.

  9. Arbitration: The spouses select an arbitrator who will decide the matter of valuation and division after hearing from both spouses and considering all evidence.

  10. Mediation: The spouses select a mediator who works to help them reach an agreement on the matters of valuation and division.
Now that you know how to solve the problem of dividing up marital property, you can learn more about how to make your divorce smoother from the following articles:

What Divorce is Really About
Divorce--Obstacles to Agreement
Divorce--Overcoming Obstacles to Agreement
Divorce--Negotiating Agreement
Divorce--When the Date of Separation Matters
Divorce--How to Protect Your Children
Divorce--Who Can Help?

Copyright 2005 Ed Sherman


Ed Sherman is a family law attorney, divorce expert, and founder of Nolo Press. He started the self-help law movement in 1971 when he published the first edition of How to Do Your Own Divorce, and founded the paralegal industry in 1973. With more than a million books sold, Ed has saved the public billions of dollars in legal fees while making divorce go more smoothly and easily for millions of readers. You can order his books from www.nolodivorce.com or by calling (800) 464-5502.