The law clerks at Barriston have focused on the various sections of a Financial Statement.  Part 4(b) identifies household contents, vehicles and other items.

Just as a quick refresher: remember that your Financial Statement is a snapshot of your financial situation.  Only include an asset that you are the registered owner of.  For example, it is common for a vehicle to be registered in one spouse’s name but regularly used by the other.  Even though your spouse may continue to use and be in possession of the vehicle, it should be listed on your statement if you are the registered owner of that vehicle.  The transfer of an asset, like a motor vehicle, can be part of the calculation to equalize your net family property.

Another important guideline to keep in mind when you complete not only this but other asset sections is that only market value is listed.  It not proper to use the purchase price or cost to replace an item.  With the exception of items such as antiques or jewellery, the general rule for valuing the contents found in most homes would be to use garage sale prices.  If you contact a third party to help you determine values for your property, ask for something in writing so it can be produced to substantiate the amounts you show in your Financial Statement.

If you own a cottage or other vacation property, be sure to include household items, boats, etc. located there as well as significant items loaned to family or friends.

Often, a single reference to “household contents” or “cottage furnishings” can be further detailed in schedules that are attached to explain these one-line descriptions.  These schedules can also be an important tool during negotiations to help spouses identify what items they want.

Not to diminish the importance of completing your Financial Statement properly, parties are often encouraged to work out the division of their household contents between themselves.  A lot of unnecessary legal fees can be spent fighting over pots and pans and garbage cans.

The value for your vehicle(s) can be relatively easy to establish.  You can contact a local dealer or some law firms, such as Burgar Rowe, subscribe to a monthly service that provide wholesale and retail values.

Jewellery can also be valued by a local jeweller.  Remember, do not use the replacement cost listed on an insurance policy as this value can sometimes be 2 to 3 times higher than its market value. 

In addition to furniture and cars, this section could include other items such as antiques, fine china and silver, classic cars and works of art.  Doug Manning’s post, “When Sports Fans Divorce”, illustrates other property that could be included.

I would also encourage you to read Katie Lloyd’s post, “The Value of Your Stuff”, which you may find very helpful as you complete your Financial Statement.