Marriage Breakup Property Division - James Prescott


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Marriage Breakup Property Division

Copyright © 2023 James Prescott



When my first marriage ended, in 1986 I came up with the following proposal for dividing our jointly owned property. In this case, it was mostly appliances, furniture, kitchen items, tools, and art works. The house was processed separately.


1. Make a list of all jointly owned items. For each item write an estimated value, whether the cost to purchase new, or an estimated used value. This value was to guide bidding, but otherwise had no effect on the process.


2. For each item, both people wrote secretly on a piece of paper a bid in dollars. This was a single-step auction. No rebids. No way to outbid the other person if they had the higher bid.


3. For the item, the two pieces of paper with bids were revealed. The person with the higher bid got ownership of the item, and the other person got the amount of the winning bid. For example, if a chair was valued at $100, person A bid $110, and person B bid $80, then person A would get the chair and person B would receive $110. Then back to step 2 for the next item. If there is a tie, go back to step 2 until the bids differ.


4. At the end of the process all of the items were owned by one or the other person, and the person who had bid a higher total amount paid the difference. For example, person A might now own 56 items and person B 45 items. Person A had bid a total of $4535 for their items and person B had bid a total of $3860 for their items. So person A owns 56 items and gives $675 to person B. Person B owns 45 items and receives $675.


It seemed to work well, and felt fair.




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