Starting a collection is often a fun way to build expertise in a specific area. Depending on what you choose to collect, your collection may also be a wise investment. Of course, if you are anticipating a divorce, you may wonder what happens to the collectible items you have acquired over time.

In New Jersey, spouses typically must divide marital wealth equitably. This approach means that you should receive a fair share of property, even though you may not get exactly half of everything that you and your spouse own. When it comes to collectibles, though, you must keep a couple of things in mind.

Who owns the collection? 

You and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse must divide marital property equitably. You can likely keep property that was yours when you married, however. Therefore, before negotiating what happens to your collection, think about when you acquired it. Even if your collectibles are marital property, you should ensure that you have a complete inventory of your collection, which includes a complete description of each item.

How much is the collection worth? 

While valuing some collections is easy, determining the value of others may be a difficult endeavor. If your collectibles fall into the second category, you may need to hire an appraiser to give you an estimate. When choosing one, consider expertise. That is, a sports memorabilia expert may be grossly inadequate for valuing antique furniture. If you and your spouse jointly own the collection, he or she may also decide to obtain an independent evaluation of the collection’s worth.

If you want to continue owning your collection when you start the next chapter of your life, you may have some options. For example, you may give up ownership of other assets in exchange for exclusive ownership of your collectibles. Still, before proceeding with your divorce, you must know what is likely to happen to your collection.