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Divorce auctions provide one method of property division

Divorcing couples in Massachusetts may have spent years and decades of their lives together. Over that time, some people will have accumulated quite a collection of personal property and effects. The question becomes: How to divide it all? The answer is not always easy because both spouses might have developed a sentimental attachment to certain items, which makes dividing them difficult. Or, on the other hand, spouses may have a menagerie of property which neither has any desire to keep after the divorce.

But there are a number of solutions to difficult property division cases. One is a divorce auction, which provides couples the opportunity to quickly liquidate their property--whether wanted or unwanted--and neatly divide the proceeds. An auction can be faster than one alternative: cataloguing every item in a couple's possession, placing a dollar value on each and dividing the lot into two halves approximately equal in value.

Divorce auctions appear to be gaining in popularity, whether in the more traditional format or on websites such as eBay. Auctioneers report that their frequency has risen in step with the divorce rate. In addition, courts in some jurisdictions now order divorce auctions when the spouses have reached an impasse over how to divide their marital property.

Like any auction, a divorce auction has the potential to fetch prices in excess of an item's stated market value. But it also carries the possibility of returning less than market value on a couple's property. While the process of property division can be time-consuming, an auction is just one of a number of options that divorcing couples have to resolve the important question of who gets what.

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

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