As you go through the process of dividing your property with your soon-to-be-ex, you may find yourself suddenly attached to a piece of furniture your spouse loved that you once thought was hideous. They might decide they want a painting they had once tried to put into storage.
When divorcing couples are working out how to divide everything from the retirement accounts to the everyday dishes, things can get emotional and heated. Unfortunately, sometimes their sense of ownership extends to their children’s belongings. Those items are not part of your property division agreement. They belong to your child.
Your child’s belongings are theirs
If you’re sharing custody, they have a right to keep them in whichever home they choose or to take them back and forth – within reason. Certainly, your child should have their own room and staples like bedding, toiletries, clothes and other items in both homes. You can’t be expected to buy duplicates of everything – or for them to lug their entire life with them as they move between parents. You’ll need to find a “happy medium.”
What too many parents do, however, is decide that because they bought something for their child (whether before or after the split), their child must keep it at “their” house. They can make them feel guilty for leaving something at the other parent’s home or playing with something their other parent gave them in front of them.
Your child’s home extends across two households
It might help to picture your child’s home as extending across your two homes. When you think of it like that, your child has a right to keep various belongings where they choose – assuming it’s not something they need while they’re with one parent or the other – like a soccer uniform for an upcoming game.
If it looks like this could be a problem, or even if you just want to be proactive, it can help to include a section in your parenting plan outlining something along the lines of what we’ve discussed here. With legal guidance, you can work out language that applies to your family.