During a divorce, people often forget to include the value of any collectibles that their spouses may have. To be sure, everything that people collect won’t have value. But just because it looks like a piece of junk to you doesn’t mean it has no value in a collector’s marketplace.
When it comes to collectibles, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may have amassed a small fortune in rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia or old pinball machines (yes, there really is a market for these things). Check out the contents of the man-cave or she-shed to see just how much of the marital funds went towards these collectibles.
Valuating collectibles can be complex
With standard art, antique and wine collections, it’s easy to get an appraiser to determine the value. But the more arcane a collectible is, the more challenging it will be to find a fair appraiser.
But just because something is difficult doesn’t make it impossible. You should absolutely determine the value of the collection and know which items were bought or acquired during the marriage. Do this even if you don’t want a part of it. You can use it later as a bargaining chip for something that you actually want.
Lay firm groundwork
Before filing for divorce, gather any evidence that you can of any marital or separate property. Take photocopies of documents and snap pictures of items that might conveniently disappear after the divorce petition is filed and served.
Realize that if the divorce is contentious and you leave the house, you might not be able to readily return to get the information you need to get your fair share in the property settlement segment of your divorce.