Dividing Personal Property in Divorce

I Want My Pillow Back: Dividing Personal Property in Divorce

A husband and a wife separate, and she moves out of the marital residence into a new apartment. Husband, by virtue of remaining in the marital home, has the vast majority of the parties’ personal property. The parties owned two expensive memory foam pillows, and Wife wants her pillow, as Husband has only ever slept on one pillow and certainly does not need hers. Wife requests that the pillow be returned to her, through her attorney, and Husband declines, through his attorney, indicating that no property is to leave the home unless ordered by a judge.

When dividing assets in the course of a divorce, the division of personal property can be the most difficult part. While personal property is typically not valuable compared to the parties’ retirement or investment accounts, personal property often carries sentimental value and assigning a monetary value is often difficult as well.

Every case is different, but generally speaking, the Court will not be bothered with valuing and distributing things like a party’s wardrobe or children’s toys. If an item does not have an appraised value, odds are the parties will be left to divide items on their own rather than having them be distributed through a court order.

Issues of personal property account for substantial back-and-forth between parties and/or their attorneys and can be time consuming and, if attorneys are involved, costly.

It often serves a party better to compromise in the interest of retaining the few items that carry sentimental value than to argue over whether one party will get to keep both memory foam pillows.


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About the author

About Alicia Fastman

Alicia Fastman graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, then went on to complete her Juris Doctorate at the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE. Alicia graduated from law school with pro bono distinction, completed a Certificate in Criminal Law, and focused her intensive studies within the fields of litigation and trial advocacy. Alicia joined LaMonaca Law in April of 2011 and is a Partner at the firm. She was selected as a Top Lawyer in Main Line Magazine in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019 in the areas of Family Law and Divorce and has been named as a Best Lawyer in the areas of Adoption and Trial in the Delaware County Daily Times. Alicia is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Delaware County Bar Associations. Alicia resides in Delaware County with her dog, Leonard. In her time outside of the courtroom or office, she enjoys creating art, listening to podcasts, and spending time with friends and family.