Inventroy Appraisal 4In a divorce, the parties and the court must divide all property, which is also called the “marital estate.” VIP Divorce Discovery experts ensure that the division of marital property is accomplished in a “just and right” manner.

VIP inventory and appraisement services determine the identity, characterization, and value of the marital estate. The inventory and appraisement is each spouse’s opinion of the identity, character, and value of his or her property.

For the court to evaluate how best to divide the marital property, VIP Divorce Discovery must determine the following three things about the property.

The estate consists of the following:

  • All real and personal property owned by the community estate
  • Each spouse’s separate estate
  • All liabilities
  • Any claims for reimbursement

VIP personnel determine whether the asset or liability is community property, one spouse’s separate property, or a mixture of community and separate property. Generally, the separate property of a spouse cannot be divided in a divorce. If a spouse claims that an asset or a liability is the separate property of one spouse, then he or she must be prepared to present evidence to prove separate property.
VIP Divorce Discovery is unable to divide the marital estate unless a value is presented for each item.

The value of an item may be identified several ways. A spouse should be prepared to reveal value by presenting evidence about what a prospective buyer would be willing to pay for the item if the spouse were willing to sell. Some items may require expert testimony to provide evidence of the items’ worth. For example, the value of real property may require an appraisement. For other items, such as personal property, VIP Divorce Discovery may determine value based only on the testimony of one spouse.

When an inventory and appraisement document is completed by VIP Divorce Discovery, filed with the court, and properly admitted into evidence, the inventory and appraisement constitutes a judicial admission on behalf of the party who files it.  And, when an inventory and appraisement is filed with the court and admitted into evidence, the party filing the inventory and appraisement is barred from offering evidence or testimony to dispute the facts admitted in the inventory and appraisement.  Therefore, it is vital that the spouse is confident of the facts asserted in the inventory and appraisement before it is filed and admitted into evidence with the court. VIP Divorce Discovery assists clients and their legal counsel in these important steps.

When an inventory and appraisement is filed, but not admitted into evidence, the inventory and appraisement cannot be considered evidence; however, the court can take judicial notice that at one time the person filing the inventory and appraisement held that the facts in the inventory and appraisement were true.

When an inventory is not filed, but just exchanged between the parties or their attorneys, the court cannot take judicial notice that the facts in the inventory and appraisement were held to be true by the party who created the inventory and appraisement.

Why Should My Spouse and I Prepare an Inventory and Appraisement?

Below are five reasons why it is of utmost importance to prepare an inventory and appraisement.

If you prepare an inventory and appraisement, your attorney can best evaluate whether you are being awarded a just and right division of the marital estate. At this step, VIP Divorce Discovery helps the individuals determine the value of their property and assets.
If your attorney does not force your spouse to prepare his or her own inventory and appraisement, your attorney will not have an understanding of the other spouse’s opinion regarding the marital estate unless your attorney requests discovery from the other party. Your attorney will not know whether all items have been identified, whether the other spouse is asserting or contesting that the property is separate property, or whether the other party’s opinion is accurate as to the value of the item(s).
Exchanging an inventory and appraisement is often much less expensive and time consuming than conducting formal discovery. VIP Divorce Discovery and your attorney can likely discover all of the same information related to the identification, the characterization, and the value of the assets and liabilities through discovery; however, discovery increases the cost of completing the divorce and can extend the duration of the case.
An inventory and appraisement helps to ensure that the divorce is final when the court signs the order. If the decree does not award all of the property in the marital estate, the court could reopen the case and the division of the marital estate could be relitigated.
An inventory and appraisement protects each spouse from being manipulated into agreeing to an order that fails to address all of the property. If the parties exchange an inventory and appraisement and one spouse later discovers that the other spouse is in possession of property that was not disclosed in the inventory and appraisement, then the court may reopen the case to prevent the other spouse from being awarded property that was hidden from the other spouse. VIP Divorce Discovery ensures to help the spouse prepare on all questions that should be answered and awarded.