How do I Figure Out What my Stuff is Worth For My Divorce Case in Michigan?

When you get divorced in Michigan, just like everywhere else in the country, you and your spouse device up your belongings. The division of assets, where you determine who gets to keep that beautiful painting you bought together on your honeymoon, and who keeps Great Aunt Agatha’s fine china, is a standard part of pretty much every divorce process. However, the more you own, and the more valuable your assets are, the more complex the process becomes. 

A diagram showing the increasing financial value of assets with a golden arrow

For couples with substantial financial investments, multiple homes, and luxury items like classic cars, art collections, or valuable jewelry, separation of property can be a very contentious operation. All over Ingham, Eaton and Clinton Counties, divorcing couples have to navigate this difficult process, so you’re not alone in your trepidation. But before you can figure out who gets what, you need to figure out what your assets are  and then what they are worth. How do you do that? It starts with both spouses trying to reach an agreement. When that does not work, often the attorneys advise hiring a professional to evaluate the marital and non-marital assets. An asset is anything that has value, but not sentimental value. Monetary value. 

You may not be able to figure out what things are worth on your own.

When you buy a house, you hire a certified and licensed real estate appraiser to walk through it first and tell you what it’s really worth in today’s market. Why? Because there are all kinds of factors that influence what that final figure will be, and the average person has no idea what they are, or how to come up with an accurate number for the value of a house. A real estate agent is not the same as a certified appraiser. The same goes for many other assets. Whether it’s your Cartier watch, your Porsche Boxster, or your Jasper Johns original painting, you need to know exactly what something is worth in order to divide up your assets fairly.

The best way to do that is to hire a professional. And depending on what exactly it is that needs to be evaluated, will determine which professional’s help you need. Whether you live in Lansing, Ingham County, Charlotte, DeWitt or Brighton, that can mean a lot of digging to find the right person. Fortunately, experienced divorce attorneys usually can help with that. 

  • A real estate appraiser will tell you what your home and other properties are worth. 
  • An antiques dealer will tell you what your family heirlooms are worth.
  • An art appraiser will tell you what your art collection is worth.
  • A business valuation expert will tell you what your business is worth
  • A financial advisor will tell you what your stocks, bonds and investment portfolio is worth

Getting the right help is important when determining the value of an asset

Obviously, there’s a difference in what something is worth on the market, and what that item is worth to you. The court doesn’t recognize emotional value when it comes to dividing assets, but that will have an impact on how you feel about something, and how badly you want to keep it. As such, you may have to be willing to give up certain assets to your spouse in return for the opportunity to keep certain sentimental items. And that’s why it’s so important to get the right help when determining what something is worth – you need to know exactly what you’re getting, and exactly what you’re giving up. The more experience your divorce attorney has, the more likely it is that you’ll receive great advice. Some examples of that include tax consequences, appreciation or depreciation, stepped up basis, and the stability of the asset. 

That’s also why having the right divorce lawyer on your team is so important. An attorney with access to some of the best experts around will give you peace of mind, knowing your assets are being evaluated by consummate professionals. And a trusted attorney with decades of experience can make all the difference when it comes to negotiating a division of assets that’s fair, and takes into account your family’s needs and your future financial concerns. So if you live in East Lansing, Ionia, or Jackson, and you’re considering divorce, call The Kronzek Firm today at 517 866 1000. We’ve helped thousands of clients in Michigan for the past 26 years.