When you are getting divorced and share a valuable collection with your spouse, it can be extremely difficult to learn that those items are going to be divided in your divorce. Collections often have high monetary or market values, but they also tend to have personal value to the collectors. Accordingly, it can be very difficult to realize that you may need to sell the collection, or that your spouse could end up with property that you consider to be your own. Given that Michigan law employs a theory of equitable distribution to divide marital property, it is essential to determine how the collection is likely to be classified and what its market value looks like. The following are tips for dividing a valuable collection in your Michigan divorce.
Make a List of the Items in the Collection
Make a list of every item in the collection to ensure that your spouse does not attempt to hide any of the pieces. Whether it is an art collection, a rare book collection, or a classic car collection, you should know precisely what you own to prevent the risk of your spouse attempting to hide assets.
Gather Documentation for the Collection
Gather detailed documentation for each of the items on your list, including receipts for purchase, tax information, appraisal details over the years, and any other materials that help to show when you purchased the property and how it has been valued across time.
Determine How the Property is Likely to be Classified
Depending on when the property was purchased and/or how it was paid for, you can get a sense of whether the property is likely to be classified as marital property (and divided in your divorce) or non-marital property (and not divided in your divorce). If it was purchased by either spouse prior to the marriage, or by a spouse during the marriage with separate assets, it is likely to be considered non-marital property.
Hire an Appraiser
Even if your spouse has an appraiser or the collection was recently appraised, you should get an up-to-date appraisal to use in court. You do not want to risk an improper valuation or appraisal.
Consider a Property Settlement
If you really do not want to part with any of the items in the collection and are willing to forgo other marital property, you might consider negotiating a property settlement with the help of your Michigan divorce attorney.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Michigan
If you own a valuable collection with your spouse, it is extremely important to have an attorney on your side during your divorce with experience handling issues common to a high net worth divorce. You do not want to risk having to sell off parts of the collection if you do not have to do so, and you do not want to risk having the items in your collection improperly valued or appraised. An experienced divorce lawyer in Michigan can assist you today. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to learn more about how we can help with your case.