Some people might give their left arm to keep an heirloom in the family — even if it’s not worth more than a few hundred dollars. Chances are you’ve got a thing or two that’s worth more to you than it may be valued at.

But, when it comes down divvying up assets in a divorce, the sentimental value may only make a difference in some situations.


Whether your ex started a collection or went antique hunting, they may have been told that the story behind their asset increases its value significantly. If this object came with an interesting history that can be proved, you may be able to claim that your ex is getting a higher value for the item than it would normally be worth.

To determine this officially, you’ll need to know how much it can sell for. Most courts would allow you to do this by using an appraiser to attest to the value of the item.


If you know that your ex would give you the 70 inch TV in exchange for a plastic toy he or she had growing up, you may feel tempted to use this in your negotiations. However, items that were gifted or inherited by your ex are considered separate property — not marital property. That means the item would not be subject to property division.

Special items

Either you or your ex may have other items that hold more sentimental value than monetary value. However, the two of you should be splitting your shared property in an equitable manner, according to their monetary value.

That being said, you can make a case as to why something of sentimental value should come to you, instead of your ex, as long as they receive something of similar monetary value.


Most pets hold more sentimental value than monetary value. According to the law, pets are property and should thus be given to one spouse or the other based on its monetary value.

However, the courts can make some other considerations, such as who pays for the animal’s care and who regularly tends to the animal’s needs.

Have a plan

The best way to go about handling property division is to go in with a plan that includes your priorities, potential compromises and fallbacks. By working with an attorney ahead of time, you can go into property division with an understanding of what to expect. The attorneys at Cohen & Lombardo are prepared to help you come up with a plan.