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How to divide valuable collectibles during a high-asset divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | High Asset Divorce, Property Division

Divorce untangles the life couples built and shared, but more so during the high-asset kind that often involves multi-million properties accumulated through the years.

Some assets, such as collectibles, are more valuable than others, not only in the financial sense but also for their sentimental worth. Collectibles typically include rare or unique items, such as antiques, pieces of jewelry, artworks, figurines, comic books and sports memorabilia.

While challenging, there are means to achieve a 50/50 distribution that can help protect both parties’ economic stability and emotional attachment to their prized possessions.

Identifying ways to divide collectibles

Before determining how to distribute the collectibles, divorcing couples must determine which items fall under California’s property categories.

A collectible can be a community asset acquired or bought during the marriage. Conversely, it can also be a separate asset earned before the marital relationship or after the split.

After an accurate appraisal determines the collectible’s value, divorcing spouses may opt to divide it evenly by:

  • Putting it up for sale and dividing the proceeds in half
  • Trading with each other or keeping the ones that each spouse truly wants
  • Paying a spouse with an amount equivalent to their share of the collectible

The ideal scenario is when both parties agree on the terms and only go before a judge for a formal order. However, this does not happen all the time. Some cases are so contentious that they proceed to trial.

Pursuing an equal division of collectibles

Collectibles are substantial properties for intangible values beyond their monetary worth. For example, a painter-spouse may have a special connection with their paintings. Their craft may fund their needs but can also be their lifelong passion. Unfortunately, some spouses may use this remarkable bond to show force and control the situation. Thus, it will be wise for collectors to seek legal support to learn their rights. Doing so can empower them to be more confident to fight for fairness.