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Inventory and Appraisement of Property in a Divorce

This article provides an overview of the inventory and appraisement, which is a document that lets the court know what property needs to be divided in a divorce. 

 

What is an inventory and appraisement?

An inventory and appraisement is a list of all real and personal property as well as debts and liabilities claimed by each spouse. This list will include separate property, community property, and debts that you and your spouse have. This list is necessary to help the judge make a just and right division of the marital estate during the divorce. For more on real property, and community property and separate property definitions, visit the Divorce & Real Estate section of TexasLawHelp. 

 

 

Is an inventory and appraisement required for my divorce?

Maybe. A court has the power to issue a temporary order to require both spouses to prepare and file a separate sworn inventory and appraisement. Texas Family Code chapter 6.502(a)(1). It may also be required by a local court’s rules. You or your spouse can ask the court to require each party to prepare a sworn inventory and appraisement. If it is established that it is necessary, the court can rule that it be required. 

 

What does it mean for the inventory and appraisement to be sworn?

A sworn inventory and appraisement means that you will be signing this document under penalty of perjury. This means that with you your signature you are swearing, under oath, that the information you have included is truthful to the best of your knowledge. If it is found that you are intentionally dishonest, you could face jail time or a fine. 

 

What should I include in my inventory and appraisement?

What you are required to include in your inventory and appraisement depends on your court and local rules. You may want to consult with an attorney. In general, you want to identify all of your and your spouse’s property and debts. You will then want to characterize each item as community or separate property. Lastly, you will want to include a value for each item. If you have any bank statements, credit card statements, employee payroll records, deeds, contracts, receipts, or any other documents to back up what you are listing on your inventory and appraisement, include them with your inventory and appraisement. 

 

What are examples of types of property to include in my inventory and appraisement?

Real property, real estate, checking accounts, saving accounts, cars, furniture, credit cards, antiques, stocks, retirement account, life insurance, art, etc.

 

How do I know what property we need to divide in the divorce?

The court will make a just and right division of all community property. The court is not permitted to divide your separate property. All marital property that you and your spouse possess at the time of the divorce is presumed to be community property. 

 

What if I do not know the value of an item?

You will want to do research and give your best opinion of the value of an item. The court will use this list to divide your marital estate. Without proper values, the court will be unable to make a just and right division. 

 

 

Should I have an attorney review the inventory and appraisement?

Yes! It is important to do so if you can. The inventory and appraisement is an important court document that may be required to be filed and introduced into evidence at your trial. If so, this there is a chance that the document is binding and unable to be changed. You may want to consult with an attorney beforehand to make sure it is in proper form and it is complete. 

 

What are the filing deadlines for an inventory and appraisement?

If an inventory and appraisement is required, it should be filed before your trial. Depending on if the inventory and appraisement is required by the court or if the other side has made the request, will determine your exact deadline to file it with the court. If you are unsure, talk to an attorney.