Understanding Property Valuation & Divorce

Navigating the tumultuous waters of divorce can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to the division of property. As marital assets often represent substantial emotional and financial investments, reaching an equitable settlement becomes a pivotal part of the process. Yet, how do you ensure that the distribution is fair?

That is where understanding property valuation steps in—a crucial yet often overlooked aspect in divorce settlements. In this blog post, we delve into the significance of accurate property valuation, the way assets can be valuated, and more.

Marital vs. Separate Property & Equitable Distribution

Marital property, also known as communal or joint property, refers to all the assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This could range from real estate and automobiles to retirement accounts and debt. On the other hand, separate property constitutes assets owned by either spouse before marriage or received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage.

Under Florida Statute § 61.075, marital assets and debts will be divided equitably by the court. Equitable distribution laws are designed to ensure a just division of marital property. These laws consider factors like each spouse's earning capacity, the marriage length, the age and health of each spouse, and the standard of living established during the marriage. This approach ensures that the division of assets is done in a manner that is most fair and equitable to both parties.

During your divorce, you should have a detailed list of the separate and marital property you have, and you should also have accurate information concerning the value of all your assets. Without correct, up-to-date information about the value of your assets, the division of assets and debts may not be fair or equitable to you.

What Assets Can Be Professionally Valuated?

Typically, both tangible and intangible assets are assessed, which can range from real estate and investment portfolios to business holdings and furniture. The responsibility of valuation typically falls on the shoulders of financial experts or professional appraisers, who use standard methods to determine an asset's worth.

They examine factors such as market value, depreciation, potential earnings, and other relevant financial data. The results of these evaluations play a pivotal role in divorce negotiations, as they form the basis for asset division.

How Are Assets Valued in a Divorce?

Property valuation during a divorce is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of different evaluation methods. These might range from a market comparison approach, income capitalization approach to a cost approach.

Each method has its own merits and limitations, and the choice of method can greatly alter the perceived value of the property. It can also vary based on the type of property being valuated.

For example, real estate properties, whether it be a family home or vacation property, can be valuated based on current market conditions and comparable sales. Investment portfolios, on the other hand, are typically assessed based on their current value and potential for future growth or loss. Business holdings pose a more complex challenge, as their valuation not only includes physical assets but also intangible ones such as goodwill and brand reputation.

Can You Refuse an Appraisal Amount in a Divorce?

Yes. If your spouse conducted an appraisal, you have the right to request a second appraisal, and the court can hear from both appraisers concerning how they reached their conclusions.

Consult with Our Divorce Attorney

At Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office, our divorce attorney has over 35 years of experience helping clients smoothly navigate their divorce. Whether you need help with the division of property or debts, are involved in a high asset divorce, or need counsel in another divorce-related matter, our firm is here and equipped to help.


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