An Inventory and Appraisement (I&A) is required by Courts in any final hearing that involves division of marital property and confirmation of separate property at divorce. An I&A conveys three important elements of information about each asset or debt, as follows:
- It IDENTIFIES the assets and debts (e.g., a home, ABC Bank Joint Checking account ending in 2234, ABC Bank Joint Savings account ending in 4567, an outstanding mortgage; and VISA Joint Credit Card ending in 1122 and VISA Joint Credit Card ending in 6543, etc.).
- It CHARACTERIZES the assets and debts (e.g., which item identified are claimed to be community property or separate property).
- It QUANTIFIES the assets and debts (e.g., the home has a market value of $250K and the mortgage balance is $125K, so substantial equity exits; the ABC Bank Joint Checking ending in 2234 has a balance of $5K; the ABC Bank Joint Saving account ending in 4567 has a balance of $24.3K; the VISA Joint Credit Card ending in 1122 has a zero balance; the VISA Joint Credit Card ending in 6543 has a balance of $3.2K, etc.).
In summary, a Court cannot divide the community estate and evaluate claims of separate property without information about what you own, how each item is characterized, and what each item is worth. The I&A also is a critical element for mediation since any negotiated agreement must be based on full and fair disclosure.
Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC. The firm provides a spectrum of family law-related services to clients in the greater San Antonio region, across the United States and throughout the world. The firm specializes in Federal Civil Service and Military Divorce matters.