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Dividing Antiques, Antiquities, and Collectibles in a Divorce

During the first quarter of 2021, $871 million worth of sports cards were traded – and that is just on eBay. The collectibles industry is absolutely booming right now, and people are starting to see sports cards, stamps, rare video games, and similar items as genuine investment opportunities. In addition, antiques and ancient relics have always been quite valuable, and sometimes owners are absolutely shocked when they discover the true value of a piece of old furniture. The issue is simple — “value” is subjective when it comes to things like this. A baseball card is just a piece of paper, and an uneducated person might assume that it is barely worth the paper that it is printed on. Another person might realize that the card is actually worth tens of thousands of dollars. In some cases, people might throw away an old piece of furniture that could pay for a year of college tuition. In a divorce, this can lead to serious issues – especially if spouses are unaware of the true value of their collectibles or they attempt to intentionally conceal their worth.

So, how are antiques and collectibles handled in a divorce? In order to find out, you might need to get in touch with an experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina. You might also want to consider an attorney who has experience with collaborative divorce, as these individuals may be able to help you avoid the trial process and handle your divorce in a more timely and cost-effective manner. In addition, a collaborative divorce can allow you to negotiate on the issues, coming to compromises on virtually every aspect of your divorce, including tricky subjects like collectibles and antiques. It is best to book your consultation as soon as possible.

Dealing With Family Heirlooms

Many spouses come into possession of antiques that are family heirlooms. These items may have been passed down through many generations, and they may be incredibly valuable. For example, a spouse might own an old rifle that was used during the Civil War, or a copy of a first edition book signed by Ernest Hemingway. Whatever the case may be, it is important to remember that gifts acquired through inheritance are always considered separate property. This means that you will not have to divide these assets with your spouse. As long as you inherited them, you will be allowed to maintain sole possession of these heirlooms. This means that in theory, treasured heirlooms will never fall into the hands of people who are outside of the family, such as your ex’s children from another marriage.

On the other hand, you will likely need to divide antiques or collectibles that were purchased during the marriage. This is because you did not inherit them, and therefore they are not exempt from the equitable distribution process.

Valuing Collectibles

One of the most important aspects of this process is figuring out the value of these collectibles. This is often extremely difficult, because the true value of these items can be subjective. For example, a rare video game might seem priceless to one spouse but relatively meaningless to another. In addition, a certified appraiser is often required to determine how much these items are really worth. Getting these items appraised can be costly, but sometimes it is the only way to figure out how to handle them in a divorce. That being said, the appraisal process can add considerable costs to the divorce process, and this might not be helpful for spouses who are trying to save money.

Can Collaborative Divorce Help?

As a general rule, it is always best to simply work out these matters on your own with your spouse. For example, if one spouse cares deeply for a sports card collection, they can keep the collection while the other spouse keeps an asset of similar value, such as a vehicle. These disputes can often be resolved through collaborative divorce. This process also allows spouses to simply agree upon a fair value of certain assets instead of getting them appraised. The end result is an extremely cost-effective solution.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have worked with numerous divorcing spouses, and we know that each situation is unique. Spouses may have all kinds of interesting and valuable property they need to divide, and sometimes this can lead to a serious headache. Due to our extensive experience with collaborative divorce, we can help you handle these unique situations in a more cost-effective and timely manner. Book your consultation today, and we can help you negotiate with your spouse before reaching a resolution that serves everyone’s best interests. We know that these collectibles and antiques can be well worth fighting for, so book your consultation today to learn more about your legal options.