Appraising Art, Jewelry, And Collectibles During Divorce
Under Florida law, divorcing couples are required to divide all of their marital assets in an equitable, or fair, manner. This includes assets that are relatively easy to value, such as bank accounts or real estate, as well as property that is more difficult to appraise. Ensuring that your assets are properly appraised is critical to ensuring that any property settlement you reach is fair, so if you have questions about how to place a value on your art, jewelry, or collectible assets, you should speak with an experienced Clearwater divorce lawyer who can advise you.
Why is Dividing These Assets So Difficult?
Dividing artwork, jewelry, and collectibles is challenging for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, these types of assets are often unique, or one-of-a-kind, which means that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find an identical item to use as comparison in placing a value on the asset. It is not even always possible to use a purchase price in these evaluations, as certain assets become more valuable over time, so what a couple paid for a piece of artwork ten years ago, for instance, is probably not indicative of what that piece is now worth.
Secondly, jewelry, artwork, collectibles and similar assets often have a lot of sentimental value for the owners, especially if the property was acquired many years in the past. While this type of attachment is understandable, couples should try to avoid letting their emotions cloud their ability to account for an asset’s actual financial worth.
Appraising Unique Assets
The best way to ensure that a unique marital asset, like jewelry, a piece of artwork, or a collectible item is properly valued is to work with an appraiser who has experience valuing certain kinds of assets. Often, couples are tempted to avoid this, as appraiser’s typically charge a fee. These kinds of shortcuts can, however, end up costing the parties in the long run, as the value they agree on may be far less than what the property is actually worth. While some divorcing couples choose to hire a single appraiser to value their assets, it is not uncommon for both parties to obtain separate valuations and then negotiate between the two estimates.
This value will also largely dictate how a couple decides to divide an asset. Some couples, for instance, choose to sell the property to the highest bidder and divide the proceeds. Alternatively, one spouse could agree to retain possession of a certain asset in exchange for something else of roughly the same value. This is especially common in situations where one of the parties has a strong emotional attachment to one or more of their assets.
Consult with an Experienced Clearwater Divorce Attorney
If you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce and will need to value artwork, jewelry, or collectibles as part of the property division process, please contact us at Cairns Law for help. One of our dedicated Clearwater divorce lawyers is standing by to help you with your case, so don’t hesitate to call our office at 727-683-1472 or to contact us via online message.