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Valuing and dividing collectibles in a gray divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Divorce

In Indiana, one of the challenges during divorce involves dividing non-liquid, collectible assets. In divorces among couples older than 50, commonly termed “gray divorce,” the couple may have unique considerations and complexities to address during their asset split. For collectibles, the following points can guide you in moving through this emotionally challenging process.

Make a comprehensive list

You and your spouse may have addressed the division of certain assets through a prenuptial agreement. Create a list to document all other unaddressed assets acquired before and during the marriage.

Include information such as the original purchase price, the item’s current estimated value and whether the object was a gift. This list establishes a record of the assets, and you may find it helpful during the discussions and negotiations about dividing the assets during your gray divorce.

Collect supporting documents

Gather any documentation supporting the value and ownership of your collectible items. The documents could include purchase receipts, certificates of authenticity and other relevant proof of the asset’s value and ownership. These documents can help determine when the assets were acquired, making the division more straightforward and avoiding potential disputes during the divorce proceedings.

Get a fair market valuation

Hire a qualified appraiser with specialized knowledge about your collectible assets. The appraiser will provide an accurate estimate of the current economic value of your collectibles. However, some rare items or those in high demand may bring higher prices from knowledgeable buyers or other collectors, and these prices may far exceed the appraiser’s estimate of fair market value. Conversely, some collectibles might have sentimental significance that far exceeds their appraised value.

Have an open discussion with your spouse about which collectibles you want to keep. You may both agree to sell the whole collection and divide the proceeds. Reaching a mutual agreement can streamline the divorce process and minimize conflicts.

Know your state’s marital property laws

States may follow community property or equitable distribution statutes, each with its own rules and guidelines. You can understand what to expect by knowing your jurisdiction’s laws and how they can impact the division of your marital assets, including collectibles.

Dividing collectibles can become a challenging, emotional matter. However, preparing can help you navigate the process more smoothly while protecting your rights and achieving an equitable outcome.