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Divorce auction may be the answer to property division dilemma

During a divorce, one of the most common arguments among the soon-to-be-ex-spouses is how to divide up personal belongings. These are not necessarily the big-ticket items, but objects with a lower worth but possibly more sentimental value, such as artwork, home furnishings and other items that the couple purchased together during their marriage. On the flip side, there are also many situations in which neither spouse wants to take anything from the marital home, seeing those goods as a reminder of their failed marriage and choosing to start fresh instead.

So what is a couple to do when they can’t decide who should get what? Often, family court judges refuse to touch household belongings in property division determinations, forcing the couple to make that difficult decision on their own

In recent years, a new business has emerged which may provide a solution for couples in both of these situations. For couples that either can’t decide how to divide their belongings or when neither spouse wants anything from the marriage, a divorce auction may be the answer.

In divorce auctions, a third-party auctioneer will take a divorcing couple’s goods and furnishings and auction them off online and in-person, with bids starting at $0. The auctioneer will take a percentage of the earnings as a fee, and the couple will split the remaining proceeds in order to start their new, post-divorce lives.

One such auctioneer says that he has been auctioning off divorced couples’ goods for several years, but has not advertised the auctioned goods as the product of a divorce due to some resulting superstition about the items being sold. Now, however, he advertises the events as “divorce auctions,” with no adverse impact on attendance and sales.

Source: Longmont Times-Call, “Some divorcing couples auction everything off and divide the cash,” Aimee Heckel, April 28, 2012

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