Some assets are considerably more straightforward to divide in divorce than others. Certain types of assets require appraisal and considerable negotiation between the spouses and their legal teams.
One such asset is a wine collection. While it may hold considerable financial value, it likely holds sentimental value as well. Many couples’ wine collections are also souvenirs of their vacations together across the country and around the world. If both of you are equally proud of the wines you’ve collected, determining how to divide them can be a challenge.
You likely don’t want the wine collection to take up an extensive part of your property division negotiations. Knowing the financial value of what you’re dividing and determining what you want and what you’re willing to compromise on can help you proceed more efficiently.
Is the wine marital property?
Likely, if you picked up the wine here and there over the years of your marriage, your collection is considered a marital asset to be divided equitably (or however you choose if you work out a division yourselves). That means you need to agree on its value.
Determining monetary value
First, it’s important to inventory it if you haven’t already done that. There are a number of sources for professional valuation of wine. Auction houses and vintage wine retailers are among the most common. It’s best not to rely on online auction site prices. You’ll need to agree on an appraiser. If you both decide to sell it and split the proceeds, you’ll also need to agree on where to sell it to get the best price.
What if you decide to keep it?
If one of you wants to keep the whole collection, you can give the other something of equal or similar value. If you both want to keep some of it, that’s where it can get time-consuming – especially if you’re more interested in more than the monetary value of each bottle.
Finally, honestly consider whether you really want the wine (assuming you have an appropriate place to store it) or just want to keep your spouse from having all of it. Would you be happier with some extra cash to spend on something new?
It’s a lot to think about. Having experienced legal guidance can help you make the best decision for you.