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TX divorce lawyerThere are a number of issues that couples must address before a court will finalize their divorce, one of which is how their marital property, or the assets that were acquired during the marriage, should be divided. Under Texas law, divorcing couples must divide their marital assets in a fair and equitable way, an endeavor that is only possible if the parties have a thorough understanding of the current monetary value of the assets in question, which can vary significantly depending on the date that is chosen for valuation.

Determining an asset’s valuation date can be a difficult and often contentious process, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce and own unique or valuable marital assets, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce lawyer who can ensure that those assets are properly appraised and divided fairly upon the finalization of your divorce.

Establishing Value

The valuation of marital assets can be established in a number of different ways, including by:

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TX divorce lawyerFor couples who are going through a high asset divorce and who also own unique or particularly valuable assets, property division negotiations can be one of the most complex parts of the entire divorce process. Whether an asset falls under the category of a personal possession, a business asset, real property, or another type of asset, its purchase date will have an extremely important impact on how it is divided upon divorce. For this reason, most couples who are going through a high asset divorce are strongly encouraged to carefully evaluate and separate marital property from assets that were accrued prior to marriage.

To ensure that this task is manageable for both parties, couples in this position may want to consider creating a marital property checklist, a tool that often proves invaluable to divorcing parties who are concerned about coming up with a fair and equitable property division settlement. Unfortunately, creating this type of list can be difficult, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce, it is important to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can help protect your interests.

What to Include on a Marital Property Checklist

In an effort to keep the property division process as organized as possible, many divorcing couples choose to create a list of all the marital property that must be divided. Most marital property checklists contain at least four categories of assets, including:

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TX divorce lawyerWhile most people assume that one of the most difficult aspects of divorce is coming up with a child custody arrangement that meets the needs of all parties or learning to co-parent with one’s former spouse, the reality is that dividing marital property is actually one of the most time-consuming aspects of any divorce. This is especially true for high asset divorces, where couples have significant, diverse, or unique assets that are difficult to inventory, appraise, and divide. Furthermore, while not all divorcing couples have children, most will have at least some assets that need to be divided before a divorce can be finalized. For this reason, it is critical for those who are considering divorce, to contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can explain the property division process and ensure that their rights and interests are protected.

What Is Equitable Division?

Texas is a community property state, which means that all of a couple’s marital, or community property, must be divided equitably upon divorce. While in many cases, this could take the form of an equal division, it could also result in one spouse receiving more assets than the other, especially if one of the spouses is receiving alimony. Assets that often fall under the category of marital property include:

  • The family home;
  • Real estate;
  • Vacation properties;
  • Retirement plans and benefits;
  • Vehicles;
  • Jewelry;
  • Antiques;
  • Artwork;
  • Personal possessions;
  • Bank accounts; and
  • Investments.

While dividing a couple’s bank accounts equally between two parties may be a relatively simple feat, dividing other assets, such as vehicles and personal belongings is much more difficult. When it comes to selling the family home, for instance, couples are usually required to engage in a complex process that involves:

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TX divorce lawyerWhen considering divorce, many couples go into the property settlement process with the expectation that they will be required to parcel out certain personal possessions, decide who will retain the family home, and divide up the contents of any bank accounts. However, this task becomes much more difficult for couples with unique or costly assets, such as fine artwork, which can be difficult to appraise. Fortunately, the advent of digital valuation tools has made this process simpler, although divorcing couples are still encouraged to obtain an in-person appraisal from an expert before going forward with the property division process. To learn more about the different methods of asset appraisal available to you, please contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can advise you.

Appraisal Factors

Appraising fine art tends to be difficult, as it can actually have a number of monetary values. These values are determined primarily by assessing the market in which the work was sold or is to be offered for sale, which includes galleries, auctions, and art fairs. Appraisers then evaluate the data derived from sales of comparable items in similar galleries to determine a rough approximation of a piece’s value.

When selecting artwork with which to compare a piece, appraisers consider a variety of factors, including:

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TX divorce lawyerMany couples, especially those who have been married for a number of years, acquire unique valuables in addition to their income, including jewelry, artwork, and antiques. In the event that a couple decides to divorce, these objects could end up accounting for a large portion of their marital assets and so will need to be divided equitably in a property settlement. Critical to this process is obtaining a proper appraisal of all valuable collectibles and antiques, so if you and your spouse have decided to file for divorce and you are unsure how to move forward with your case in regards to your valuable or unique assets, it is important to speak with an experienced high asset divorce attorney who can advise you on your next steps.

Antique Status

Many people assume that because an object is old, it automatically qualifies as a true antique. This is, however, not true, as, in the world of collectibles, there are actually three categories under which old objects can fall, including:

  • Antiques, which are objects that were manufactured at least 100 years prior;
  • Collectibles, or vintage items, which are objects that were produced more than 20, but less than 100 years ago, and are widely recognizable as being from a certain time period; and
  • Retro, which is a term used to describe objects that are purposely derivative of a certain trend or fashion, usually from the 1980s or 1990s, although they don’t actually need to have been manufactured during that time period.

While vintage products are often valuable, most expensive pieces purchased at galleries and auctions fall under the definition of antique.

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