Roy Da Silva never knows when he will find himself in the middle of a war. As a certified car appraiser, he is often called on to give an unbiased opinion to a couple looking to un-couple, often hoping for the opposite outcome. The guy(usually) is hoping for the lowest appraisal, while the gal (usually) has her fingers crossed that the appraisal comes out high.
Lots of times the value of an automobile is relatively insignificant in the overall divorce settlement, but what if the car is a Porsche Carrera, a vintage Ferrari (YIKES), or a collection of cars you have put together over a lifetime?
Statistically the top ten stresses in life start with the death of a family member followed by divorce. Yet it doesn’t always have to be so painful if you prepare for the process. Attorneys often state that a couple needs to evaluate what is really important in dividing martial assets and try and minimize the emotion if possible. Being unreasonable often just leads to a less then equitable settlement.
For a lot of reasons, your home seems a lot easier to negotiate compared to prized possessions such as your collector car. So how do you ensure that the offer and outcome will be fair for both while not giving away the farm?
It’s easy to get emotional, but you need to be realistic on the value. Regardless of the fact it has been in shows or had recent service or you feel yours is the best, you’ll need to be open and honest about the current market. The price being sought is fair market value and not the more common “replacement value”, a term usually done for insurance purposes.
Having good records can never hurt, and make sure your lawyer is aware of when you bought the vehicle(s), as timing of ownership sometimes means the vehicle would not be considered part of the marital estate. If the vehicle was a gift or it inherited from a third party, it might make a difference on who has actual rights to keep the asset. Lawyers know the rules but they need all the information possible to assist you.
Always try and cooperate with the attorneys (even hers) as they have the ability to get an agreement if the facts are complete and convincing. Remember don’t fight yourself; you’re only fighting with your own money.
Along with having a trusted lawyer, you should hire a professional and certified auto appraiser. Someone that has the experience and credentials to make sure your vehicle will be valued using unbiased and recognized methods that the courts accept.
You should seek references about the appraiser from other attorneys, experience in court situations, insurance companies, samples of work, associations and car authorities in order to decide who you hire to produce these documents.
Remember a professional appraiser is not necessarily there to represent you as a client, but as an advocate for arriving at an unbiased value.
Agreeing to use the same appraiser saves money, and often makes it easier for the attorneys to settle on a fair amount.
Don’t hide the facts or dismantle the asset, as a good appraiser may disclose this causing the attorneys to use discovery, making the settlement much more difficult.
Remember that divorce is a painful and stressful event. Focus on negotiating the best possible deal for yourself. This article is only intended to give you a good, strategic, starting place. A fair but quick settlement is always the best way to get on with your life. To hang on to the emotion of that shining thing in the garage can be more trouble than it’s worth. Consult an attorney for your specific rights.
I know Roy personally and professionally, and you can contact him with questions at :
Roy Da Silva, Source One Services Inc. 847-247-0742