Property Division of Art, Antiques, and Collectibles in a Florida High Asset Divorce

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Florida law requires divorcing couples to divide their marital assets in an equitable manner, including property that is difficult to appraise.

In cases involving rare assets often difficult to valuate, the court may have to take additional measures to ensure the division of property is fair.

Art, antiques, and collectibles all fall under this complex category of assets that involve:

Placing value on such assets constitutes a strenuous endeavor:

  • They are often unique, which makes it extremely difficult to place a value while comparing them to identical items.
  • The purchase price is not an indicator of the assets' value, as certain items become more valuable with time.
  • Owners tend to also place sentimental value on artwork, collectibles, and other similar assets, which can impair their ability to account for an item's actual monetary worth.

The Appraisal Process of Rare and Valuable Assets

Estimating the value of any asset is no easy task, especially when rare items are involved. Once these assets are identified, the valuation step ensues. The divorce lawyer needs to work with experts, accountants, and valuation professionals to appraise all marital properties according to their present and future values.

A personal property appraiser is usually consulted for antiques, artwork, and collectibles, to establish if indeed there is value to such an item through a series of steps:

  • The plan for performing the appraisal - can include collecting preliminary data that is compared in the end with the final value to ensure consistency.
  • Property analysis - identifying the features that define it as being unique or collectible and any other similar items that can be compared with it.
  • Gathering market data - collecting information to help shape an opinion on the asset's value.
  • Forming an opinion - the value of the property can be determined in several ways:
    • The cost approach - an item is valued at the amount a buyer would pay to replace the particular item.
    • The market comparison approach - a value is assigned to the property, comparable to the market value of a similar one.
    • The revenue/income approach - an asset that is expected to create revenue in the future may be valued based on this process.

The conclusions of the appraisal process should state whether the appraiser's opinion is adequate for the analyzed assets and accurate based on the amount of evidence and information consulted.

Valuation Factors in Property Division of Art, Antiques, and Collectibles

Properly valuating assets in a high net worth divorce case ensures that both parties are treated fairly. Avoiding this essential process can affect the parting couple's finances in the long run, as the values they agree on might be less than the asset's worth. The value of an asset influences property division:

  • The couple may sell the asset to the highest bidder and split the revenue.
  • One spouse could retain possession of an item in exchange for something of similar value (when a solid emotional attachment is involved).
  • The couple can divide the assets - in case of a collection.

Determining the value of a high-priced asset relies on a wide range of factors, such as:

  • Identification - any distinctive markings, like signature, stamp, logo, that can help establish who created the item and when
  • Condition - the wear and tear of the asset
  • Rarity - the number of identical or similar objects that still exist
  • Market - how many collectors could be interested in purchasing the item

The Role of a Skilled Attorney in a High Asset Divorce Case

If you are involved in a high net worth divorce, and you or your spouse have accumulated high-value assets like artwork, antiques, and collectibles, you should rely on an experienced attorney to:

  • Protect your interests.
  • Diligently navigate the property division process.
  • Obtain an accurate asset appraisal on your behalf.
  • Prepare for arguments over the timing and source of funds for the purchase.
  • Determine if the asset was acquired after selling a premarital item, owned only by the original proprietor.

The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary brings together a team of seasoned legal professionals accustomed to handling complex divorce and family law disputes and substantial assets. Don't hesitate to contact us today for assistance throughout this troublesome episode in your life. We will fight for your goals and ensure that property is distributed fairly and under Florida law.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.