Quatela Chimeri, PLLC

Find out what your personal property is worth before you settle

High-asset divorces are not always just about the retirement accounts, investments and real estate. Your home and garage may be full of personal property that has value far beyond your emotional attachment to each object. 

When you have valuable assets such as collections, antiques, artwork and jewelry, determining the fair market value is essential to getting your fair share of the marital property. 

How to determine whether you need to hire a professional appraiser

You may be able to do some research on your own and come to a reasonable dollar amount to assign to a vehicle or antique, especially if you and your spouse get along and can agree. However, even if you believe your spouse will honor the agreement, you do not want to get to court and suddenly find he or she has gotten a professional opinion, and the item you want suddenly has a much higher or lower value attached to it. Instead, you may want to use your research to determine if the potential value of the item is worth the cost of hiring the professional. Many factors may affect value, such as:

  • Author, artist or creator of the item
  • Measurements
  • Unusual markings
  • Date of origin

How to find a professional appraiser

Your divorce attorney can probably provide you with recommendations for reputable professionals. You want someone who will be willing to appear in court as an expert witness and has the credentials to sway the judge if your spouse also has an expert witness who disputes the valuation your appraiser provides. Credentials may include the following:

  • Membership with a professional organization, such as the Appraisers Association of America
  • No potential conflict of interest or biases
  • Correct methodologies for arriving at value
  • Compliance with accepted standards of appraisal

In court, the judge may have considerable discretion in determining whether to accept the value of items as stated. However, if you cover all your bases, you are much more likely to walk away with the settlement that you deserve.

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Quatela Chimeri PLLC
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Hauppauge, NY 11788

Phone: 631-482-9700
Fax: 631-482-9707
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