Many types of community assets can be easily identified and valued for the purpose of division during the divorce process. Examples of these include bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and retirement assets. This also applies to debts incurred entirely during the marriage. The treatment of other types of assets and debts can be problematic however.
These are some of the unusual community assets and debts that can present special challenges:
- Art, antiques and collectibles
- Student debts that were partially incurred before a marriage and partially incurred during a marriage
- A thoroughbred horse or dog that generates stud fee income
- Non-tangible assets such as patents, copyrights, and tax loss carryforwards
- Digital assets such as Bitcoins, income-producing websites, digital media files and frequent flyer miles
The value of some of these assets can be substantial. For example, a half million frequent flyer miles could be exchangeable for $10,000 or more in airline tickets. The net present value of an income-producing asset could be worth much, much more.
A skilled divorce attorney will not overlook any of these types of assets or debts. He or she may also call upon specialists, such as an appraiser or tax accountant, who can provide guidance concerning the valuation of particular assets or debts. This is essential if such problematic items are to be fairly and fully valued.