I've settled hundreds of seriously contested and complex divorces over the years, and I'll tell you this: when it comes time to breaking up the pots and the pans, look out because that process takes the cake! I hate to admit this, but usually it's the women who get all the household contents. It's true. Ask any divorced man you know. Most men leave their homes with the shirt on their back and return to collect little more than some old clothes, junky tools and maybe some photos. In the beginning they always ask, "so when it comes to the stuff in the house, how does that work?" In the end, it comes down to the dreaded "Schedule A" -that last sheet on a divorce agreement that specifies those items that the Husband will get to keep. When "Schedule A" is presented to the Wife, I inevitably brace myself for the tirade that is about to ensue. "You want the small TV in the basement? Oh my God you are so petty. I can't believe you want the small TV. Records? What records? Are you kidding me? Those are gone. Your mother's rings? She gave me those rings. I can't believe you. No. Those rings are going to my future daughters in law." I see the Husband start to recoil in his seat. He looks down at the list and begins, "There are FIVE TVs in the house! Are you kidding me? What did you do with my records? I've been collecting those records since I was a kid! My mother gave you her rings? Yeah right." I already know what is going to happen next, and sure enough, here he goes, "Okay, how about I just take the other small TV? The one in the garage?" The Wife continues to look at the list, ignoring his request. "The Bundt Pan? Absolutely Not!"
Hindsight being 20/20 as they say, my advice is that you don't wait until "the end" to work out the personal property. If you are a husband who plans to move out, trust me, your wife will be much more accommodating of your requests up front, especially if she's eager to see you go!