Dividing your marital assets between you and your spouse may feel complicated enough, but what happens when you throw your children’s assets into the equation? Do they even own anything, or do you and your ex actually own those items?
It may seem simple enough, but this can be a cause for contention. For example, say that you enjoy playing video games with your son. You buy a $2,000 big-screen TV for his room. In the divorce, your spouse gets primary physical custody of your son. Does the TV that you paid for now go with your son, essentially going to your ex’s home? Or can you claim that you paid for it and it is really your property?
Children can own property
The laws around this are a bit complicated. To start with, children can own property, even if they’re still minors. If that TV was a gift to your son, he may have every right to keep it and bring it to whatever home he lives in — whether that’s with your ex, in a college dorm, or somewhere else entirely.
That said, with minor children, parents do sometimes have the ability to take property and not allow them to use it. This often happens with phones, for instance, if a parent thinks that a child is addicted to their phone or if they take it away as a punishment. Cases like this have gone to court, though, and a divorce can make it even more complicated.
Working through the property disputes in your divorce
A situation like this can become very difficult, and it may impact the child’s relationships with both parents. It’s very important to know what options you have as you work through it.