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San Jose Divorce Attorney > Blog > Property Division > Appraising Complex Assets In A Divorce: What Should You Know?

Appraising Complex Assets In A Divorce: What Should You Know?


Going through a divorce and property division in California is complicated even when spouses have relatively little community property and no complex assets. Yet many married couples in San Jose own property that is complicated to appraise and value, and thus to distribute evenly during the divorce according to California community property law. In order to ensure that all community property is appropriately valued and distributed, it is important to consider certain issues pertaining to complex and high value assets. Our San Jose property division lawyers have information to help.

Understand When You Have Complex Community Assets 

It can be difficult for spouses who are getting divorced to recognize that they own property that will be complicated to value or appraise. The term “complex assets” is broad, and it can refer to many different kinds of property. For purposes of your divorce, the following are examples of complex assets that can require special attention and particular actions during a California divorce case:

  • Art collections or other collectibles that fluctuate significantly based on auctions, artist profiles, museum and gallery exhibitions, and other factors;
  • Digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, websites or domain names, or NFTs;
  • Professional practices or businesses;
  • High value real estate in other states and countries; and
  • Intangible property such as stocks or retirement accounts.

Learn More About How Complex Property is Appraised

If you have complex property, you will often need to work with specialist appraisers who have experience appraising and providing values for the type of assets you own. For example, if a valuable art collection is part of your community property, you should work with an appraiser who not only has experience handling high value art appraisals, but who has particular experience with appraisals of the specific artist, genre, period, or school that makes up your collection.

Digital assets can be even more complicated to appraise. Similar to art collections, the value of many digital assets, such as cryptocurrency or NFTs, can fluctuate wildly based on market factors. Accordingly, the price you paid for a digital asset might be significantly different—either higher or lower—than the current appraised market value. Indeed, according to a report from CNBC, it may be necessary to add “some type of volatility formula into the divorce contract” to handle fluctuating digital asset values. With digital assets, you will also need a specialist with experience appraising these forms of property.

Gather Financial Records in One Place 

While many complex assets require valuations from experts with particular experience handling appraisals in a specific area, it is nonetheless important to take all the steps you would ordinarily take to prepare for property division when you own complex assets.

You should begin by gathering all financial records and documentation in one place. You should collate purchase records or receipts, information about any past insurance appraisals or auction estimates, contracts or deeds, and related material. All of this information will be necessary for the division of community property in your divorce.

Contact Our San Jose Divorce Lawyers 

If you have questions about dividing complex property, you should get in touch with a San Jose divorce attorney at our firm. Contact Foster Hsu, LLP to learn more about how we can assist you.



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