Many couples who decide to dissolve their marriages disagree on what constitutes a fair division of marital assets. This is especially true when the parties own valuable or unusual property. In these cases, establishing the value of a couple’s property is critical to ensuring that each party receives a fair portion. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy process, as certain kinds of assets, such as art, antiques, and collectibles are often difficult to appraise, so speaking with a high net worth divorce attorney who has the skill and resources to ensure that unusual assets are fairly divided upon divorce is critical.
Placing a Value on Unusual Assets
Appraisal is a key part of the process of dividing marital property for couples involved in a high net worth divorce, as the portion of the proceeds that each party receives will depend on the estimated value of the property. Even couples who know the general value of an item, such as a piece of artwork, will still need to have it appraised by an expert who can conduct an inspection and then decide the likely price that the parties could receive if it sold at auction.
The type of appraiser hired to provide an estimate for an asset will depend on the type of object in question. This means that a couple could need to hire an art appraiser, an expert in a certain type of antique furniture, a professional jeweler, or even an expert in virtual assets. While the parties will need to pay for these services, the cost should not deter divorcing couples with unusual assets, as an inaccurate estimate could result in an unfair division of the property.
Other assets that may need to be appraised for the purposes of property division include:
- Gifts given during the course of the marriage;
- Partnership in a business;
- Patents, copyrights, and trademarks;
- Frequent flyer miles;
- Stock options and other kinds of deferred income; and
- Income-producing websites.
Each of these assets comes with its own method of valuation. For instance, in Michigan, all stock options granted to a spouse after a marriage took place are presumed to be marital property. However, a party can overcome this presumption by proving that the stocks were acquired as a gift or an inheritance, or were acquired after a judgement of legal separation or before the marriage took place. When placing a value on the stocks themselves, a financial expert will need to take a series of factors into account, including whether the stocks were vested or non-vested, the market value of the stock, the exercise cost of the option, and financing expenses. While this may seem like a daunting process, an experienced high net worth divorce attorney will have a network of reliable experts and appraisers who can make sure that assets are properly valued, which in turn, will allow for a fair division of the assets upon divorce.
Obtain Legal Representation Today
To speak with an experienced high net worth divorce attorney about your own unusual assets and your pending divorce, please call us today and we will help you schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys.