Smartphones are everywhere, most working professionals have one. What you may not know is that during a divorce, you can use it as a handy tool to help protect your prized possessions from potential loss or destruction. Smartphones, including Androids and iPhones, have a camera. The video capabilities in your hand can be a valuable resource. We learned in a previous post that you must be very careful with video, so you don’t accidentally record speech without notice. But! The capability is on your phone and there are good reasons to use video for more than just capturing your spouse’s bad behavior.
If you are moving out of the marital home and your spouse is staying, you want to make sure that any items of value (monetary or emotional) that you can’t take with you right away won’t be destroyed. We’ve all heard stories of the family china being crushed on the front lawn, prized baseball card collections shredded, family photos that “disappear” and antiques that get sold for well below value. One way to protect against the destruction or dissipation of your possessions (assuming you are not being escorted out of the house by local law enforcement at the time you learn you are moving) is with that camera on your phone.
First, make sure there are no children home when conducting your inventory. Kids don’t need to be reminded about what is happening to the family. They don’t need to think you don’t trust their other parent and they don’t need to be reminded that someone is leaving. So, as much as you can, on any matter relating to the divorce, don’t involve the kids and don’t let them ever see or hear what is going on.
With your phone and the daily paper (an honest to goodness actual hard copy of a local paper) begin filming. First take a shot of the front of the paper and note the date, say the date, and then film the date. This can prevent your spouse from denying that an inventory is recent. Then, film all the items that matter to you and talk about them on camera. In the event that they get destroyed you would like an appraiser to be able to gauge what they may have been worth from the film. Film the home, the yard, everything. You are protecting against your spouse letting the house fall into disrepair to lower its value and you are protecting against (or at least creating a record) your spouse going bananas and destroying the place.