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What is an Inventory and Appraisement in Divorce?

During the pendency of your Divorce case, our office might ask you to complete and Inventory and Appraisement worksheet.  The Inventory and Appraisement requests a lot of information, and can be overwhelming for clients.  Understanding both the importance and the function of the Inventory and Appraisement can help make the process of completing the worksheet easier for clients.

The first step in a property division is gathering information about the spouses' assets and liabilities. One way to do this is through a sworn Inventory and Appraisement. The document should identify all of the spouse's marital assets and liabilities. During mediation , the Inventory and Appraisement provides an efficient way to share the marital property with the third-party mediator in order to effectuate a negotiation regarding the division of property. If your case is unsuccessful at mediation, the Inventory and Appraisement is what the Judge will use as a comprehensive list of the spouses' property to make a ruling on the property division.

There is a temptation in completing the worksheet to only list the assets and liabilities that are in your possession and control, or that are only in your name. Although you may not have all the information about the assets and liabilities in your spouse's possession and control, those items that are community property that will still be divided upon your divorce. Listing all the information that you have is helpful to ensure that every asset is listed in the final version of the Inventory and Appraisement.

Completing the Worksheet:

There are several areas on the Inventory and Appraisement worksheet that may not apply to you and several areas that use legal-ese that you may not understand.

The main areas of the worksheet are asking for information about certain categories of community assets. Community assets are assets that were purchased or acquired during the marriage. The worksheet will ask for information regarding real property, accounts with financial institutions, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, personal property, etc. Throughout the divorce process, we will continue to ask you to provide updated values for various assets to ensure we have the most accurate and up to date information.

Another section in the worksheet asks you to provide information regarding community liabilities. Much like community assets, community liabilities are liabilities that were incurred during the marriage. Even though the liability may only be in one spouse's name, if the obligation was incurred during the marriage, the liability is still considered a community liability.

One of the most confusing sections for clients to complete is the section regarding separate property. As your attorneys have likely explained to you, separate property is any property purchased or acquired prior to the marriage, received as a gift, or received from an inheritance. In Texas, there is a presumption that all property owned by spouses is community property. In order to confirm property as separate property, the party must overcome the community property presumption, by tracing, or proving, the property's origin to one of the types of separate property mentioned above (i.e., owned before marriage, gift, inheritance). The Court must confirm a party's separate property upon divorce, so listing it on the worksheet and categorizing it correctly are important.

In addition to completing the worksheet, our office will also request that you provide supporting documentation for the information you provided on the worksheet. This means current account statements for bank and retirement accounts, as well as valuation reports for vehicles and certain personal property.

What Happens Next?

After you complete the worksheet, our office will turn the long worksheet into a more concise document that eliminates the categories of assets that are not applicable to you. We will have you review the document and sign it in front of a notary. We will exchange Inventories with the opposing attorney, where we may find that the spouses disagree on the value of certain assets. We will rely on the supporting documentation you provided to support our position of the valuation of the asset during mediation, and if necessary, final trial.

The Inventory and Appraisement is a useful and necessary tool that provides a comprehensive list of all the spouses' assets and liabilities. While completing the worksheet can be overwhelming, the information requested plays a substantial role in ensuring an equitable division of property in your divorce case. At Hoppes & Cutrer, LLC we are here to help and provide guidance throughout the divorce process, including with the Inventory and Appraisement.

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959 W. Glade Rd
Hurst, TX 76054

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