Divorcing couples in Florida should know that the judge will not necessarily divide everything 50-50 between the soon-to-be exes. Under Florida’s equitable distribution laws, courts are required to divide up any marital property in a ‘fair and equitable’ manner. While equitable may sound similar to equal, it actually means that the judge can use their discretion when determining who gets what in the divorce. As part of this process, judges must determine the value of significant marital property in the divorce. Items like clothing and household goods generally do not require appraisals unless they are high in value.
How is marital property value determined in a divorce?
Marital property refers to any property acquired during the marriage. Separate property, or property brought into the marriage by one party, can become marital property if marital funds are used towards it.
While determining the value of a bank account, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts may be straightforward, some assets can be more challenging. Here are some of the most common assets valued in a divorce.
- Family home or other real property- Many couples own one or more homes that will need to be valued in the divorce. A property appraiser can evaluate the value of the property based on fair market value and market conditions.
- Artwork-Many couples acquire artwork. An art appraiser will need to value each piece of art based on the fair market value of the piece and whether the piece has increased in value since the time of purchase.
- Vehicles-Vehicles can be appraised based on the Kelley Blue Book values and an evaluation from an auto appraiser.
Property values can be derived from several different sources, including county appraiser, independent assessor, or agreement by the parties. Once the property has been valued, the courts will consider the incomes and earning capacities of each individual, duration of the marriage, and each spouse’s contributions to the marriage. A family law attorney can assist you with the appraisal process to ensure you get your fair share of your marital assets in the divorce.