Family heirlooms, which include antiques, photos, jewelry, or other collectibles, can be at the center of attention during divorce. The following tips can be used in order to facilitate the legal rights surrounding valuable items.
1. Personal Property v. Marital Assets
Anything acquired before marriage is considered personal property, while anything acquired after marriage is considered a marital asset. Dates of when the heirloom was obtained can be proven through witnesses who recount seeing the valuable.
2. Heirloom Engagement Ring
Regarding engagement rings, they are usually considered a gift to the person who accepted the ring as a form of engagement, therefore it could become difficult for the family of the spouse who proposed to obtain the ring back.
3. If Moving Out, Take The Item With You
If a divorcing spouse decides to move out the residence before the divorce is finalized,it is highly recommended that the spouse take the heirloom with them to avoid any conflicts if there were to be a misplacement of the item. If there isn’t enough space for the heirloom in the new residence, it is suggested to take photographs of the item’s state and location for record purposes. If the ex has changed the locks on the residence without a court order preventing entry, it is legal to hire a locksmith and enter the home.
4. Have Heirloom Professionally Appraised
The benefits of having heirlooms professionally appraised include for insurance purposes, estate settlement, damage claims, charitable giving, and equitable division of property.
To learn more about the division of marriage assets, or to seek counsel for divorce cases or any other family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Evie P. Jeang, Managing Partner of Ideal Legal Group and Founder of Surrogacy Concierges.