One of the most frequently overlooked aspects of uncontested divorces is the importance of a sworn inventory and appraisement. Often times, my clients are seeking a quick and easy way to dissolve their marriage and move on with their lives.
I am always quick to ask a set of very simple questions, “Are you fully aware of all assets and liabilities belonging to your spouse? How can you be certain?”
Most people are caught off guard. They readily assume that their spouse disclosed all of their assets during the marriage. Unfortunately, some people discover well after their divorce that their spouse was, in fact, hiding assets. Sometimes this discovery is far too late.
Although it will not completely prevent the concealment of marital assets, insisting on an exchange of sworn inventories and appraisements can provide some form of safety net against this sort of situation. It is an essential part of any Texas divorce lawyer’s toolkit. Put simply, a sworn inventory and appraisement is a document completed by each spouse in which they list, in great detail, all assets and liabilities owned by either party. In this document, they also provide an opinion as to the value of the asset or the amount of the liability, as well as an opinion as to whether it is community property or separate property. Finally, the document is accompanied by a sworn verification in which the person completing the document swears, under oath, that the inventory is a complete and accurate summary of all assets of which the person is aware, to the best of that person’s abilities.
Another benefit of a sworn inventory and appraisement is that it helps each party sort through their assets and ensure that they do not forget to list the most important assets in their divorce decree. Also, if there is any question as to whether a particular division of the community estate is fair and equitable, the values provided in the inventory can be of assistance to the attorneys to calculate the net value of each party’s share of the community estate and compare those values.
If you have further questions about obtaining a divorce or how an inventory may help you to prepare to divide your assets with your spouse, give our office a call at 713-579-9702. We’d love to be your Houston family lawyer.