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How is personal property divided in a divorce?

You may have a pretty good idea of how you and your spouse will divide your assets fairly in your Montana divorce. But what about the antique furniture and the art collection? To determine what is fair, you will need to find out what they are worth, and that means you will need to hire a professional appraiser.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there are a few things you need to do before you hire an appraiser

Catalog your personal property

The appraiser will want you to provide certain information about each piece:

  • Description and photographs
  • Materials and subject matter
  • Unique or distinguishing characteristics
  • Provenance
  • Time period/era

These elements will allow the appraiser to accurately identify the item and analyze its condition so that he or she can determine the fair market value.

Search for the right appraiser

It is important for you to find an appraiser whose opinion a judge will find credible, especially if you suspect that your spouse will try to come up with a different amount that is more in his or her favor. Unfortunately, there is no official license that appraisers need in order to become professionals. However, some professional associations, such as the American Society of Appraisers, do provide certifications, and these affiliations lend credibility. You also want to make sure your appraiser uses the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and is willing to provide expert testimony in court.

This information about hiring a professional appraiser is general and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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Cunningham Law Office is a family law-focused firm in Missoula, Montana. We serve Missoula, Ravalli County, and the surrounding area.