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Divorcing? Get your spouse's collections valuated

Although few couples realize it, there are such things as "good" divorces. Their common theme is a lack of contentious battles and attempts to get over on one spouse by the other.

Sadly, there are far too many ugly divorce battles where couples have so much animosity against one another that they can't even agree on how to split the spoils of their bad marriages. If your divorce tends to fall into the latter category, you may find the following information useful.

Don't get cheated out of your rightful share

Every Texas marriage, no matter how brief, is likely to have some community assets and debts to divide. Marriages of long duration will certainly be more complex to allocate the ownership of assets, and if one or both spouses had collections of items, it's likely an expert opinion on their value will be necessary.

You may not want part of the collection of KISS memorabilia that your spouse has been steadily building over the last 20 years of your marriage — but you are entitled to half of its value. Many spouses are amazed at the high valuations of esoteric collectibles they previously regarded as junk.

Don't be foolish and leave this money on the bargaining table, however. It's definitely worthwhile to get a professional valuation done of the entire collection. While you may have no interest in owning a KISS pinball machine, you likely are interested in your half of the few grand it could bring on the rock and roll collectibles market.

If they collect it, someone can appraise it

Some people collect Depression glass or old toys. Others may literally have tens of thousand of dollars worth of rare, vintage wines. Whether you want the items themselves is a moot point. If it was bought or otherwise acquired during your marriage to your spouse here in Texas, the law maintains that you have an interest in its value.

At the least, you can use these items' value as a bargaining chip for something else of value that you would like from your marriage, be it a heftier share of the 401k or the beach house in Galveston.

Reveal all collections with your family law attorney

You can't be granted ownership of half of something that the court doesn't know exists. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse has a collection of items, share this information with your divorce attorney. Then, he or she can assist you with locating an independent evaluator who can determine the true value of the collection, thus assuring that you leave your marriage with all assets to which you are entitled.

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