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How to divide collectibles in a divorce

December 13, 2022 | Asset Division, Divorce, Firm News

Married people generally do not plan for a divorce. Everyone hopes their marriage will last a lifetime, but if yours does not, you must prepare to divide your lives. Throughout the marriage, you and your spouse collect property and assets. If you amass a personal collection of valuables, you may not know how to handle the division.

Collectibles have monetary and sentimental value for collectors. Knowing your collection’s worth, however, may require an appraisal.

What are collectibles?

Collectibles can include any valuables that you have as part of a personal collection. For example, china, stamps, coins, artwork, wine and figurines are all collectible items. If you began your collection before you married your spouse, those pieces of your collection might go straight to you. Separate property includes any property you obtain before marriage, through inheritance or as a gift.

If you and your spouse collected valuables together, the collectibles are part of your marital property.

How can you value your collection?

Look for appraisers in the field you collect in. For instance, if you collect artwork, you should go to auction houses or advisory firms to find out the value of your collection. When dividing your property, the courts do not divide it 50/50 but through equitable division. The court considers fairness when it comes to what each of you keeps. The value of the collection does not take sentimental value into question. When dividing a collection, you must determine if one or both want to keep the collection or sell and split the proceeds.

Your appraisal needs to be up to date during the divorce. The value of collectibles can shift dramatically based on trends.

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