You and your spouse want an amicable divorce, but both of you have strong emotional attachments to quite a few of the personal property items purchased during your marriage. Unlike the classic car you bought before you married, you must divide your community property equally.
It may help smooth the property division process to hire an appraiser who can give you a dollar amount based on fair market value.
Determining how attached you are to the property
Say you know you want the art you purchased from a local artist because it makes you happy every time you look at the paintings on your walls. However, the artist has become famous since you bought those pieces. An art appraiser informs you that they are now worth four times what you originally paid. To keep the paintings, you will have to compromise and let your spouse keep other items.
At this point, the disparity between emotional value and dollar amount may make it easier to allow your spouse to take some of the artwork. Alternatively, you may decide the artwork is worth it, especially because it is likely to continue to increase in value, or the two of you may decide to sell the paintings and split the money evenly instead.
Ensuring the division truly is equal
The paintings are not the only valuable items you and your spouse own. There is also your condo, a vacation house, jewelry and antique furniture. It may seem fair for one of you to take the condo and the other the vacation house. You may want the jewelry and your spouse wants the antique furniture. Because you and your spouse agree, is it really worth the money to hire appraisers? After all, you will need to find professionals who specialize in these types of items, so you may have to hire three separate appraisers.
It definitely is worth it. Like the paintings, your real and personal property could be worth vastly different amounts from what you paid for them, even if you purchased them recently. Not only that, there are tax implications depending on the type of property. Appraisers are a vital part of any high-asset divorce.