Property Division in Divorce: Antiques & Rare Collectibles

Dividing up your property during divorce isn’t easy. And when that property is a family heirloom or your favorite piece of fine art, some deep emotional connections can come into play.
People naturally become attached to objects due to the memories they evoke. This then leads to establishing strong emotional bonds with artistic, antique and collectible property.
Unfortunately, if these objects are part of your marital estate, you’ll have to have them professionally appraised to determine their market value for the court. In most situations, it’s best if you and your spouse can save the appraisal expense and divide up this kind of property beforehand.

Keeping Family Heirlooms Out of the Marital Estate

If you acquired antiques from your family as hand-me-downs, heirlooms, and gifts, most likely you will be able to exclude them from your marital estate. You must prove that it originally belonged to you or was given to you, however. An experienced divorce attorney can help you document your claim to property that belonged to your family. Your attorney can also help you come to a fair agreement on how to divide the remaining valuable property that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage.

Creating Lists About What You Want to Keep

Make a thorough list of all the property you own together with your spouse and a list of the property you believe is yours and should be kept out of the marital estate. Have you received gifts of valuable or precious objects that were given to only you, like jewelry, art, antiques, books, silver, china and crystal?

Valuing Your Property

Next, your antique and rare property needs to be valued and appraised. This process is more than just putting a price tag on something. For instance, valuation also considers whether the value will increase or decrease over time and how stable prices are in the market for the item. Consult with experts and specialty appraisers particular to the type of antique you have. Many appraisers specialize in certain items such as rare books, coins, antique cars, wines, jewelry, art and other collectibles.

Handling Disagreements Involving Experts

When you or your spouse disagree on how to approach valuation, each spouse can pick one appraiser. The two appraisers would then agree on a neutral appraiser to value the property. Or, spouses can pay for their own appraisals and use the difference in valuations as a negotiating point when balancing out the rest of the marital assets.
You can also let the judge decide on the value or simply sell the object and agree how to split the proceeds. Keep in mind that appraisals of particular and rare objects and art are more expensive than other appraisals and will increase your divorce expenses.

Call Us to Help You Value and Protect Your Antiques and Heirlooms

We will assist you through the process and recommend fair, honest and experienced professionals to help you value your antique property and preserve your family heirlooms. If you would like to discuss your divorce options, reach out an experienced Texas divorce lawyer.