Who gets what is always an issue in divorce. Mississippi Courts use a concept known as Equitable Distribution – which means things are to be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. Now, more often than not it is close to an equal division. So what is stuff? For the purposes of this post, I am referring to personal property. Furniture, electronics, utensils, personal effects – Stuff!
The Court will allow the parties to agree to any division that they can mutually agree upon. Barring that, the Court may also employ the “Two List Method.” One party makes 2 list of everything in the home, “equally divided,” and the other party gets to pick which complete list of items they want. The party that made the lists gets the list of items not picked by the other. Courts think this is a fair way to do it.
But, what if my family gave me that dinette set? The Court will take into consideration if the property is marital property or not, but by and large anything acquired during the course of the marriage is marital. And, anything used, or “commingled,” by the family can lose its separate status and become a marital asset. Now this does not mean that he is going to get Grandma’s antique China Buffet, but it does mean that a portion of the value could be deemed marital and there could be a set-off through other means. He could get both couches, instead.
Who gets the stuff? Usually it’s somewhat of a balancing act. Each party receives their own respective personal effects and the parties are usually able to agree as to who gets what of the Stuff.
Thompson Law Firm, pllc Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com (601) 850-8000
This question, “Do I NEED a Lawyer?” is asked of me on an almost daily basis. It’s one of those questions that when you ask a lawyer if you need a lawyer – you know what the answer is going to be. “Yes! You need a a lawyer.” If you are having to ask if you need a lawyer, you probably need a lawyer.
So, when do you NEED a lawyer?
When you have been sued. If there is an active lawsuit you need to see a lawyer.
When you have been seriously injured and it was not your fault. This applies to car wrecks, but it also applies to any injury.
When you have been arrested. Law Enforcement involvement is usually a significant sign that you need an attorney.
When there are significant risks involved. Lawyers are trained to identify and attempt to minimize risk.
Well, you think, if I talk to a lawyer it may make the issue more serious. Perhaps, but lawyers, for the most part try to help. Their goal is to advise you, help you, and/or defend you from whatever harm is at issue. Knowing your rights, being prepared, and being fully informed are never negatives to self-preservation.
“Splitting the Baby” is a phrase that has taken root in our lexicon. It references King Solomon’s decision where two mothers were embroiled in a “custody battle” over a child, each claiming the child to be their own. 1 Kings 3:16 KJV
In family law courts, oftentimes the Judges compare themselves to Solomon when making decisions. These Judges must make tough decisions based testimony and evidence that are frequently in stark contrast depending upon which party was offering up the facts and proof.
In the Biblical Custody Battle, King Solomon was faced with one infant and two mothers. Solomon did not know which woman was the child’s real mother, so he arranged a test to see if he could determine the true mother. In Solomon’s case, the real mother was willing to let the other woman have her child in order to spare his life, while the other woman (whose own baby previously died) agreed with King Solomon that the baby should be cut in two, with each woman receiving half. The real mother in King Solomon’s court was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of giving the child up, so that he might live. The Holy Bible, King James Version, 1 Kings 3:16.
These days, however, it seems that when we talk about “splitting the baby” we are referencing making decisions that leave both parties unhappy. I have heard a Judge say that if both parties leave unhappy then they must have gotten the result right. There may be some instances where this holds true, however there was no splitting in the Biblical version of Solomon’s decision.
Splitting the baby may be the solution if it’s not an actual baby. But the wisdom of Solomon is remembered, celebrated, and often cited because he, in fact, did not split the baby.
Thompson Law Firm, pllc Matthew Thompson (601) 850-8000