We are asked quite frequently how someone might best prepare for their South Carolina divorce. We are huge proponents of creating lists throughout the preparation process as a means to both document and organize all the elements your case will need to address. One area this can a huge help is your personal and real property. All property deemed to be marital will need to be logged, assessed in value, and divided by the Family Court before the finalization of your divorce. Making a list for your attorney and the court ahead of time makes this process much easier. Some attorneys and judges refer to this particular list as a "household inventory list." To find out more about how to create one and why it can be helpful, keep reading.
Why create a household inventory list?
Creating a household inventory might seem silly; after all, you've both lived with the items for years (or even decades), and you likely already know what everything is, right? Wrong! Though you pass by the items every day, it is quite possible if you were forced to draw up a list without being able to walk through the house you might forget many items, even the important and most valuable items or items which remain stored in drawers, closets, or attics for years at a time. Living among the daily clutter of a house, it's unavoidable that some things may fade into the background, making them easy to forget about during a divorce. Putting together a simple household inventory list ensures that these items are not forgotten and the things that are important to you and your spouse are identified and then divided equitably if a separation occurs.
Avoid Missing Property
Another benefit of putting together an inventory is to guarantee that things don't go missing before you have a chance to catalog them. During the chaos of a divorce, especially when one party moves out of the marital residence, it is very easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. TVs, furniture, dishes, artwork, etc. can all easily get moved or taken and then become the subject of a dispute down the road. By putting together a list in advance, there's no need to fight over who has what, the items can simply be identified among each other's belongings and then divided at some point in the divorce process. You will save yourself sometimes thousands of dollars by having this list readily at hand.
When to do the inventory?
The earlier the inventory is done, the better. As already mentioned, once a divorce gets underway and the parties physically separate, it can be difficult to put together a comprehensive list of household items. By taking action at the beginning of the divorce process you can put the issue out of your mind and free up energy, and other resources, among other things. There are times when a divorce is started with little or no notice to you. The thought of sitting down and making a list of all of the property in your home (or homes), may seem impossibly overwhelming, but with the rise of digital smartphones - most of which are equipped with fantastic cameras, the job just got easier.
Even if you don't have time to make an organized written list or spreadsheet for your attorney, you can take your smartphone and snap pictures of every room (for the big articles) and pictures inside drawers, cabinets, closets, boxes, safes, jewelry and watch boxes, etc. This will make it easier, especially if you are the one whe is leaving the home, to document later what things were part of your marital estate on the day or separation.
The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us at (864) 598-9172 to schedule an initial consultation.