The equitable distribution of marital assets following the dissolution of a marriage is often one of the most contentious and important aspects of divorce. The valuation of marital assets is crucial to the equitable distribution process, as knowing the value of assets and debts is essential to ensuring that assets are divided equally. There are many different methods used to determine the value of marital assets. Depending on the valuation method used, the assets' final value may catch some divorcees off guard, which can lead to an even more contentious divorce process.
The process of valuing marital assets can be complex, but our experienced divorce lawyers can help guide your process. Contact The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates today to schedule a consultation with our divorce lawyers in Gainesville, Florida!
Common Marital Assets & How They Are Valuated
Essentially, marital assets are anything acquired with money earned during the marriage. While non-marital property, or assets not part of the marital estate, are kept by the party who owned them following a divorce — marital property is subject to equitable distribution. Florida courts use various methods to determine the value of different marital assets. The following are some examples of common marital assets and how their value may be determined.
- Real Property - The marital home, vacation houses, commercial properties, and land are considered real property and often comprise a couple's most valuable assets. Generally, real property is valued using its fair market value, an appraisal method that determines an asset’s value based on the price a potential buyer might be willing to pay.
- Personal Property - Any property that isn’t considered real estate is known as personal property and may comprise items, such as vehicles, jewelry, furniture, etc. Personal property may be valued based on the asset’s fair market value or its replacement value, which is an appraisal method that determines an asset’s value by evaluating the cost of replacing it.
- Businesses - The fair market value appraisal method is often used to determine the value of divorcees' businesses, but it cannot be applied to businesses that are not subject to be listed on the market. As an alternative, the value of a business could be determined by the total value of its physical assets when sold at the time of divorce, known as the liquidation value method.
- Retirement Benefits - Courts in Florida calculate the value of retirement benefits based on the value of vested interests at the time of divorce, excluding post-divorce contributions.
Why The Date Of Valuation Matters
An asset's valuation date may have a major effect on the calculations of an asset’s value. Florida law grants courts broad discretion when it comes to the date of the valuation of a marital asset. In Florida, divorce courts typically consider the value of marital assets at the time of the divorce filing. There are some cases, however, in which parties can choose the date on which assets are valued. In such cases, the date must be specified in the divorce settlement or marriage contract. Generally, Florida courts try to value marital assets on a fair and equitable date based on any relevant circumstances in a divorce case.
Divorce Attorneys In Gainesville, Florida
The entire process of equitable distribution can be incredibly confusing and complex. Moreover, once a court makes its final determinations regarding property division, it’s difficult to have them undone. Accordingly, it’s in your best interest to have a dedicated and knowledgeable divorce attorney on your side. Contact The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates today to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys in Gainesville, FL!