What is an inventory and appraisement?

In most Texas divorce cases, each party will complete a sworn inventory and appraisement and exchange it with the other side.  These inventories are generally quite helpful when it comes to dividing property and debt, especially in cases where one spouse has controlled the majority of the finances in the marriage.  In some cases, the inventory and appraisement leads to additional discovery requests where one side wants backup documentation in support of certain items listed on the inventory.  The benefit here is that the inventory usually allows discovery requests to be narrowed down to only very relevant documents.

When a client needs to complete an inventory and appraisement, I send them a blank form to complete.  It lists every imaginable asset and debt that either of the parties could have.  I tell clients to simply delete any sections that are not relevant to them so the document is easier to get through.  The inventory will include everything from real property to bank and retirement accounts to frequent flyer miles to firearms and artwork.  The party will also list a value for each item of property, along with a date for the valuation.  The inventory also includes itemized descriptions of debts, such as credit cards, student loans, mortgages, etc.  After the form has been completed and reviewed by an attorney, it must be sworn to and notarized.

In my experience, most attorneys will voluntarily agree to exchange an inventory and appraisement.  If the other side will not agree, a judge will almost universally order the parties to complete an inventory and appraisement by a certain date upon request.

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