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Addressing valuable collections in high-asset divorce cases

| Mar 30, 2021 | High Asset Divorce |

The assortment of collectibles in your home means a great deal to you. As a high-income earner, you could afford such items without having to dicker on the prices. You also have invested a great amount of emotion. And, as you know, many of these collections such as fine art, luxury cars, wine, sports memorabilia and jewelry are worth a great amount of money.

However, now that you are going through a divorce, you must come to terms with the probability of parting with many of these valuable items. You accumulated a significant amount of them while married. Some were purchased together with your spouse, and others were gifts to your spouse. Going through an inventory of these items is a timely task, but it is crucial to do so when addressing aspects of the division of assets.

Prepare an inventory, determine the value

Asset division involving valuable collections is one way that high-asset divorce cases differ from others. Such collections run the gamut, all depending on what the investor/collector desires. The list may include yachts, rare coins, books and paintings, Persian rugs, comic books, vinyl records and even fossils.

While many of these collectibles were purchased before the marriage, others were not. The former is non-marital property, while the latter is marital property and subject to equal division.

In high-asset divorces, collectibles, which represent another form of investment, often turn into a source of contention even in an amicable split. In some cases, the only solution is to sell.

When preparing to divide your collectibles, here are some crucial aspects to consider:

  • Assemble an inventory of all items in question. This provides a complete record of what you own, allowing you to be well-prepared for negotiation and agreement. Your list may include a Willem de Kooning painting, a rare Bill Russell basketball card, a yacht collection along with precious metals such as gold and silver.
  • Determine and understand the value of your collection. If you were on top of things, you likely knew the precise value of these solid investments you purchased. Sometimes, though, you do not. And, at other times, these items significantly increased in value over time. In this scenario, consider hiring a valuations specialist who has the background of understanding the fair market value of these collectibles.

You had many interests throughout your life, and your high-income earnings afforded you the ability to acquire many items related to those interests. Through the years, your collections represent financial and emotional investments. But, now that your marriage is ending, you will have to part with some of these investments or strike an agreement that allows you to retain a good portion of it.

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