Focused On
Family Law

Divorcing? Don’t forget the value of collectibles

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Divorce |

When going through a contested divorce, couples frequently battle over major items like houses, cars, investments and retirement accounts. Those are important to divide fairly, of course, but they are not the only objects of value in some households.

If you and/or your spouse collect art, wine, or anything else of value (and almost all collectibles have some value), these items will also need to be valuated and divided.

What if I don’t want any items in the collection?

Just because you have no interest in your spouse’s Depression glass or rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia collection doesn’t mean those items don’t have an inherent value. Once that value is calculated, you can use it as leverage to walk away with things that you do want from the marriage.

How can I know what is junk and what’s valuable?

The more arcane the collectible, the more difficult it is to assess its value. Adding to the complexity are the differing values of collectibles, including:

  • Retail
  • Wholesale
  • Insurance
  • Fair market
  • Auction
  • Tax

A professional evaluator of the type of collectible in question can answer many of your questions. You can also look online at sites like eBay and others to see what similar items are selling for on the market.

Collectible values can offset other shared marital property, debts

If your spouse wants to keep their collections intact, setting a value of its entirety could offset the equivalent in shared debt. In other words, allowing your ex to hold onto a collection worth $10K could allow you to wipe out $10K of your shared credit card debt in trade. (Just make sure that the debt is legally removed from your name, or the credit card company can still pursue you if your ex defaults on their payments.)

You may need the help of various professionals to negotiate a fair property settlement when ending your marriage.