When you and your spouse begin inventorying your personal property for division in your Massachusetts divorce, it may be difficult to see beyond your emotional attachment to your things. After all, they have played an important role in your life, and with all the upheaval going on, the familiarity of your favorite items can be reassuring.

At Manzi, Seccareccio & Merwin, P.C., we do not underestimate the importance of emotional value, and we take that into account during property negotiations after we help our clients to discover the monetary value of each item.

While there may be some items that you can affix a dollar amount to by doing an internet search or looking it up in a book, more valuable items often do not have such a concrete number. According to HuffPost, appraisers consider many factors about the item itself in determining the value:

  • Provenance
  • Quality and condition
  • Desirability
  • Importance
  • Rarity

The item must then be compared to other, similar items that have a value already placed on them, whether through a recent sale or another valuation method. Because there may be so much difference between the valuation process for various items, such as a painting and a necklace, you may need to hire more than one appraiser to assess your personal property.

Your appraiser may need to appear in court to provide expert witness testimony regarding the appraisals, particularly if your spouse has also hired an appraiser and come up with different numbers. It is important to find an expert who will have credibility with the judge. This likely involves being a member of a professional organization such as the International Society of Appraisers and using the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

More information about the valuation of marital assets is available on our webpage.