Can You Divide Marital Property Fairly Through Mediation?

There are certainly emotional aspects of marital property division when you and your spouse are trying to decide who gets what during your divorce, and that may pose some threat to a peaceful agreement through mediation. However, it would obviously not be fair to either of you to divide your marital property based on your attachment to the items. Instead, you need to find out the actual monetary value of each object, whether it be a sculpture, an antique, a baseball card collection or some other potentially costly item.

The Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers suggests that you find a professional appraiser who is knowledgeable about the types of personal property you and your spouse own. While there is no certification or licensure program through the government, there are organizations and associations that do provide standards of practice and ethical guidelines, such as the Appraisers Association of America and the International Society of Appraisers. Most appraisal experts use the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice as their guidelines.

Before you talk to an appraiser, you and your spouse need to do a thorough inventory of all your joint personal property. This is any asset you own that is not real estate. You should include pictures, a brief description, and details and unique features of each. To reduce the cost associated with an appraisal, you and your spouse may be able to determine the fair market value of some items through commonly used sources. For example, many people use the Kelley Blue Book to determine the value of their vehicles.

Once you have a list of dollar amounts beside your assets, it may be much easier for you and your spouse to agree on the division of your marital property without feeling cheated.

This information is general in nature, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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