Q: Do I always need to provide an inventory and appraisement during a divorce?
Last week my wife's attorney has requested an inventory and appraisement from me. The assets we have accumulated during our marriage include cash in our bank accounts, an SUV and sports car, furniture, and her 401k and Roth IRA. On the other hand, the only liabilities we have are $10,000 in credit card debt that I accumulated in the last few months leading up to the divorce.
I'm wondering if it is necessary to provide an inventory and appraisement in this situation. Is it always required, or are there circumstances where it may not be needed?
It is not always required but it is often required and is very useful. In many instances, spouses "forget" about assets like accumulated frequent flyer miles, unpaid bonuses, etc. Taking the time to complete a thorough and accurate Inventory and Appraisement helps the parties and their attorneys avoid future litigation and complaints.
The effort and time required to prepare a thorough and accurate Inventory and Appraisement is self-limiting. If the parties genuinely do not own much, it shouldn't take longer than an hour for the parties to complete on their own. If the parties own a little more, it may take a little longer to complete and may require my paralegal's assistance on certain assets. If the parties own quite a lot, it may require multiple sessions between the client spouse and my paralegal, and may even require my personal involvement.
I have never regretted having a client prepare a thorough and accurate Inventory and Appraisement. I have often regretted not having one or having only one that is incomplete and/or inaccurate. IMO nothing makes a spouse appear shadier in a divorce proceeding than having a crappy I&A.
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