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Artwork may factor in complex property division

In a Texas divorce, one of the more challenging aspects of the property division process is ensuring that assets are valued accurately. While it may be relatively easy to determine the value of marital property such as joint bank accounts or retirement accounts, other assets are a bit more difficult to value, but just as important. The family home, vehicles used by the family, jewelry, electronics such as computers and televisions, recreational vehicles and more all must be valued in order to ensure property division proceeds smoothly and fairly.

Some spouses in the Houston area may have artwork that was acquired during the marriage. Artwork may be a particular challenge to value, since factors such as the original source of the art may be difficult to determine and a spouse may receive conflicting opinions as to how much the object is worth. Nevertheless, it's important to make sure that artwork, like all other assets between spouses, receives an accurate estimation as to its financial value.

Factors that are likely to influence a piece of art's value, or the value of a collectible or antique, include market trends and the current condition of the item, as well as the objectives of both buyer and seller, if a spouse is looking to sell the item. Spouses may wish to first consult a price guide to see if they can find an overall estimate of the item's possible value, but an appraiser may be necessary to offer further help.

An appraiser may be enlisted to thoroughly review the item and then offer the owner a written statement as to the item's value. Appraisers generally work for a fee, but their opinions can be extremely useful during property division proceedings. It's usually best, it possible, to seek out an appraiser who has experience in valuing the same type of item that may be at stake in one's divorce. Another possible resource is auction houses, which occasionally feature events where staff will offer their opinions as to an object's potential value.

As with all family law matters, it's usually beneficial to start by enlisting the help of a Houston family lawyer. In many cases, spouses will find their property appraisals are a complex valuation process that turns out to be more complicated than originally thought.

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum, "Researching your art: How much is your object worth?" accessed Dec. 27, 2014

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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