Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Should your divorce team include valuation experts?

You and your spouse have quite a bit of personal property in New Jersey that you have spent a pretty penny on over the years. Now that you are divorcing, you have each made a list of the items that you particularly want, and fortunately, these don't overlap much.

Since it appears you agree, should you bother with getting a professional valuation?

While it is great that you and your spouse are negotiating well, there is a downside to simply agreeing to the division. As the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers explains, it could be that the baseball card collection of yours and the artwork that your spouse loves are vastly different in fair market value. A judge may sign an agreement assigning these possessions to each of you, only for you to discover later that your spouse received property valued at thousands of dollars, and your corresponding property was only worth hundreds. If you had known, you may have been able to negotiate for other assets to make the division fairer.

Professional valuations are not cheap, though. If it turns out that your personal property is not that valuable, you could spend more money than it is worth to find out the fair market value. You may want to do a preliminary internet search, or check with professional publications such as the Kelley Blue Book to get a general idea of whether you need to invest in hiring a professional.

This general information is provided for educational purposes; it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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