When some divorcing parents sit down to decide how they’ll divide various items like furniture, exercise equipment, artwork and such, they unfortunately start talking (and sometimes fighting) about which of their child’s belongings will be in each of their homes.
While it’s understandable that parents may have a sense of ownership over things they each picked out and/or paid for, they don’t belong to either parent. They belong to the child. Even if you were the one who assembled a toy for them or the one who has spent endless hours playing a game with them, your child should be able to decide where it goes.
Both of your homes are your child’s home
It may be helpful to think of it this way: If you’re sharing custody of your child (even if it isn’t a 50-50 arrangement), that child’s “roof” covers both of your homes. They should be able to have their toys, games, dolls, electronics, sports equipment and books wherever they want.
You may be able to have duplicates of some things in both homes. They should definitely have a fully decorated bedroom of their own in both homes if at all possible. Certainly, larger items will need to stay in one home or the other. However, your child may have a favorite stuffed toy they take with them between homes.
What they shouldn’t have to do is pack up their life (or even a suitcase) when they transition between homes. It can leave them feeling like a visitor in both. That’s an important thing to remember with the holidays coming up. Parents should never require that “their” present remain in “their” home simply because they bought it.
Some parents include a provision their parenting plan to address their child’s property. It can simply state that a child’s belongings are theirs to have in whichever home they prefer. You can be more detailed if it’s necessary. With sound legal guidance, you can codify this in a way that keeps your child’s best interests at the forefront.