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The importance, and danger, of sentimental value

As any resident of Rockford, Illinois, who has been through a divorce or other split would likely say, that it is time wrought with heavy emotions.

In addition to being angry with the other party involved, people are often concerned about how they are going to be provided for financially and get to keep property that is important to them.

Acknowledging these emotions is important, particularly during the process of property division, even when a couple does not have a lot of assets to divide.

To be more specific, it is easy during the divorce process to use sentimental value to put a price on a piece of property. Sentimental value is how much value an individual person attaches to a piece of property, usually based on reasons other than strict logic and economics.

While sentimental value is not bad per se, it can lead to people's making financial and legal decisions that do not make the best monetary decision. Sometimes, for instance, sentimental value could lead a person to be willing to pay a premium for his mother's favorite chair. In other cases, a woman may not want to give up her retirement plan because she worked hard for it and will instead be willing to trade more than she should to keep it.

In the world of divorce, what matters to a court is fair market value, as that is how the court will determine whether property is divided fairly. Market value looks at the bigger picture, asking what an ordinarily buyer would pay for a piece of property and what an in ordinary seller, neither in desperate circumstances, would ask for it.

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