Everything was settled… divided. The pension fund, the house, policies, investments, shares, the children, cars, the dogs…except…. the furniture. For days they argued… one meeting after the other… mediation, facilitation, arbitration… no success.
Some things inherited, some donated, others gifts… who bought what…. Fruitless expedition!!!! . No progress made.
The legal team exhausted….fees escalating by the minute… no settlement in sight. Deadlock. The only alternative was to sell everything on auction, to split the nett proceeds between them. But not even that helped!!! I prayed for Solomon’s wisdom.
On the fifth day… suddenly….light in the darkness. A settlement forthcoming!!!. We listed each party’s possessions. Arranged for the Great Trek. Date and Time fixed for the removal company to arrive… The obvious choice… I to supervise… to oversee that all proceed in good order.
D-Day arrived. Crisis at my office… arrived late. One had already moved out. I parked in the driveway… walked through the front door to the back of the house. Nearly had a heart attack!!! A stroke immediately thereafter!!! Sat down… couldn’t breath…watched in utter disbelief… disgust… dismay….horror…
The garden boy was busy rolling up the entire lawn!!! Loading the strips on the back of the waiting truck!!! The back yard completely desolate… once a lush near-tropical garden… now a barren desert!!!.
My yelling and screaming made no impact. No difference. Confronted… Explanation demanded…. the new house had no lawn for the children. The new owner can plant his own lawn… this one was needed elsewhere!!!
Needless to say the repercussions were dire…
The law on division of movables;
When married in community of property – all furniture and household items have to be divided equally between the parties based on the total value of the contents. Normally the parties divide the items between themselves but if no agreement can be reached, the contents are valued by a sworn valuer and then divided accordingly. In the alternative, everything can also be sold on auction and the nett proceeds split evenly between the parties.
When married out of community of property – each party owns what he or she has purchased during the marriage. Ownership must be proven. If not, the same principle applies than mentioned above.
Items inherited and donated as well as gifts remain the property of the beneficial party.
The lesson: Don’t burden your legal representative with a quarrel over household items. The legal costs you would incur eventually could almost have furnished your entire house.