Property division is one of the most important aspects of a
divorce. Since Florida is an “equitable distribution” state, the courts
will assess the value of significant assets (e.g. houses, motor vehicles,
retirement plans, and valuable collectibles) and ensure each spouse receives
their fair share.
Regarding high-asset divorces, the property division process can be quite
complex. There are certain steps you need to take to obtain the most favorable
award or settlement.
The following are the proper steps to take when estimating the market value
of your marital assets in a Florida divorce:
Estimate the value of your assets on your own – Although the courts divide your marital assets based on their
value, you still need to provide them with your own estimates. Before
doing so, you must determine the cutoff date for the valuation process.
If you and your spouse with to go to court, the cutoff date is often the
date of the trial. On the other hand, if both parties divorce through
a settlement, you can decide the cutoff date.
Hire an appraiser – Determine which assets need appraisals first since seeking help
from an appraiser to evaluate your property and create a detailed report
can take some time. This professional can figure out the “fair market
value”—or how much someone else is willing to pay—for
Hire an accountant – When it comes to your retirement benefits, it is wise to hire
a certified public accountant who is experienced in valuing retirement
funds and pensions based on Florida’s divorce laws. Your accountant
will use “coverture fraction,” which is a tool to separate
that portion of retirement benefits earned during marriage from the portion
earned outside the marriage.
Determine the value of less valuable items – Whether it’s your automobile or your television, establish
the value of less valuable items last. For vehicles, check the NADA Guide
or a Kelly Blue Book and then subtract any remaining loan balances. For
electronics or furniture, check out Craigslist, eBay, and other similar
websites to determine the prices listed for your exact item in the same
If you are interested in filing for divorce in Florida,
contact the Law Offices of Robert Stepniak today.