Daniel J. Lounsbury Attorney at Law Willamette Valley Legal
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Find the value of personal property before a settlement

When a marriage ends in Oregon, the couple must follow the state's plan for property division. According to the Oregon Judicial Branch, property includes much more than the home and other real estate. The couple must also divide their personal property, such as vehicles, furniture, jewelry and other objects.

How does the couple divide the diamond necklace, the vintage car and the painting from a local artist who has become famous? The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers explains that each of these items must have a dollar amount placed on it so that the total of all assets can be calculated, and the couple can reach a fair settlement.

It may be possible to do some research and come up with a price tag on items that are not one-of-a-kind by seeing what similar items are selling for. The couple should note the condition of the item, distinguishing features, the date of its creation and what person or manufacturer created it, among other details. These factors may reveal that the item is unique, and the value should not be assumed.

A unique item may be valuable enough that the only way to discover the price is by determining what it would bring if sold at fair market value. In these cases, it is probably worth the cost to hire a professional appraiser.

Although the couple may agree to hire an appraiser, if one spouse is not satisfied with the value provided, he or she may decide to hire someone else to provide a different value. Thus, it is important to ensure before hiring anyone that he or she is willing to testify to the value of the item in court.

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