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What happens with precious metals and jewelry in divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2022 | Division Of Marital Property, Divorce

For some couples, precious metals such as gold and silver and expensive jewelry are critical components of their investment portfolio. And, in other scenarios, the latter usually serve as gifts from one spouse to another.

But what happens to these gold bars, gold coins, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds when a couple chooses to divorce? The solution may be a simple one or a more complicated one, depending on the circumstances of the divorce.

Hiding assets in precious metals

Precious metals and jewelry represent stable investments in the eyes of select couples. If a couple obtains gold bars and gold coins during the marriage, the court considers them as marital property and subject to an even split.

However, in some situations, a spouse may disregard fairness. In a less-than-amicable divorce scenario, that person may attempt to hide assets by transferring money into precious metals.

While it is possible to conceal assets, such illegal behavior is easy to detect by experts such as a forensic accountant and skilled attorney can track them down by tracing bank statements and purchases.

Selling and dividing them

When it comes to dealing with precious metals and jewelry in divorce, the most likely scenarios include:

  • Selling them: Doing so may require waiting for the right time when market values are high for gold and other precious metals. A judge’s order, though, may jeopardize the timing of such a sale. Then, couples may have little control.
  • Dividing them: The likely best option is to divide them equally, thus ensuring that the investment is not sold at an inopportune time.

What about gifts? Jewelry often is given from one spouse to the other as a gift. Gifts usually are not marital property. This is why it remains so important to remember how you obtained each piece of jewelry in your collection. It is a good idea to document each gift and keep any receipts. Take photos, too, especially ones that show you wearing the jewelry.

The decision may be yours

Divide or sell the precious metals and jewelry? That may be your choice or up to a court’s order. Think through this carefully and decide what to do. And if you suspect your estranged spouse hides assets and invests them in precious metals, it is a good time to seek legal guidance.