Marriage is about love, but divorce is all business. In particular, you have to get down to the “nuts and bolts” of dividing up the marital property.

When it comes to big things — like real estate, vehicles and investments — you may need to negotiate with your ex to come to some kind of agreement. Colorado law, after all, uses the equitable distribution method when it comes to dividing marital property. That puts the emphasis on what’s fair, rather than splitting things straight down the middle.

That rule also applies when it comes to household goods — but it pays to be smart when you’re dividing things like the household furnishings, the kitchen goods and the tools in the shed. Here’s what to consider before you start:

  1. What can you group together? There’s really no sense in breaking up a bedroom set or living room set, so it can speed up the division process if you and your ex can agree that certain items all “go together,” no matter which of you end up with them.
  2. What does each spouse use the most? Maybe you both like to cook, so the kitchen goods need to be more carefully divided, but if your spouse is the only one that gardens and you hate the outdoors, it makes more sense for them to keep the garden tools. See if you can find areas on which you can agree to make negotiations easier.
  3. How much is it all worth? What’s the resale value on the household items you own? Before you engage in a lengthy (and costly) battle over some dishes or furniture, calculate whether it would be cheaper (and easier) to just let your spouse have what they’re demanding and buy a replacement.

Finally, make a list of everything that’s in dispute and see if your ex will agree to simply take turns choosing from the list until everything is taken. That forces you each to prioritize your choices and can get you through the process — and on with your life — quickly.

When all else fails or your ex is being unreasonable, you can always work with your attorney for a fair division of the property.