There are some financial assets that you can divide fairly easily when you get divorced. For example, you may have a small checking account where you keep money for daily spending. You can simply divide the contents of this account between you and your ex. There shouldn’t be much conflict over how the values are split up or what that value really is.
However, those who have more complex assets may certainly need to consider bringing on financial experts as they go through the property division process. This is especially important when you have valuable collections, such as an art collection. What types of questions will an expert be able to answer?
Changes in value
One thing to consider with art is that the value can change significantly from the time at which it is purchased. For example, perhaps your spouse bought a piece for $100,000. If they tell you that it is simply worth $100,000, they may give you other assets that are worth $50,000 to make up for your portion. They will then keep the artwork themselves, since they love it for its artistic value.
But is that the real value? Maybe they know that the market for this type of art has been going up and that the piece they purchased for $100,000 is currently worth around $1 million. They do not want to divide the other $900,000 with you, so they let you assume that the value has been stagnant. You’re actually losing out on a lot of financial assets that you deserve if you don’t bring in an expert and have an official valuation done.
Additionally, if your spouse is an artist who is selling work, then you need to know what the true value is of their unsold pieces. Both people may have a right to this value since the work was created during the marriage. Don’t assume that your spouse is the only one who has a claim to that unsold work. If they have become wealthy selling their pieces, even those unsold items may have a tremendous amount of inherent value.
As you work your way through this complicated process, always be sure you know what legal options you have.