Whether you collect classic cars, rare books or anything else, your collection represents a significant investment of time, money and effort. If your collection is part of the marital estate, you must have a strategy for addressing its ownership during your divorce.
While you probably have some options for securing exclusive ownership of your collection, you do not want to leave its future to chance. Here are three ways to protect your rare collection during your divorce proceedings.
1. Entertain settlement negotiations
If keeping your collection is a paramount priority for you, you may want to pursue a divorce settlement instead of litigating the end of your marriage. After all, a judge is likely to defer to any agreement you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse reach.
By contrast, if you leave your collection’s ownership to a judge, he or she may split the collection between you and your husband or wife.
2. Collect relevant records
Some, all or none of your collection may be marital property, with the remainder being separate. If you intend to argue you already exclusively own the collection, you should have relevant records to backup your assertion.
Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, sales receipts, ownership documents and even provenance details may be useful.
3. Obtain a realistic valuation
If your collection is part of the marital estate, you may be able to buy out your spouse’s ownership interest. Before doing so, however, you must know how much the collection is worth. Finding an appraiser who understand how to value your type of collection is essential.
Your spouse may disagree about whether your appraiser’s valuation is realistic. Consequently, you should also prepare yourself to rebut your partner’s appraiser’s estimate if necessary.