What’s that signed guitar actually worth?

Once you’ve made the decision to divorce there are more decisions to be made. One of these decisions is property, or “Who gets what.” Many people mistakenly believe that their personal collections are theirs to keep, no matter what. But is this true?

The short answer is no. That million dollar baseball card collection, or much-sought-after Chagall is not yours simply because you bought it.

There are some considerations to this end. These include whether or not you have a prenup that clearly outlines who will get what, or if the property in question was bought before the marriage or was inherited.

In North Carolina property is divided in a method known as “equitable distribution.” Equitable does not mean the property is divided into two equal parts. Many factors can influence “who gets what,” but in every case you must file your claim before your final divorce is granted by a judge.

After your divorce is finalized it’s too late to try and get back your 2009 Fender Bullet signed by Justin Bieber or your zero gravity, fully custom leather massage chair.

You want to keep these items? Make sure you include that in your initial complaint for absolute divorce.

It is rare for one party to be able to recover attorneys fees from the other party in “equitable distribution” claims. There is, however, an exception to this rule. There can be a discretionary award of reasonable attorney’s fees in cases where the owner of the property- the guitar or massage chair- sues the other spouse to get it back.

An attorney can give you a better idea of what you can take, and what you can’t if this is unclear. Of course, in the case a massage chair that knows your every crick, it might just be worth having that conversation.

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