Valuation of Marital Assets
There is no law that dictates the time at which any marital assets are valued. In some cases, it is appropriate to value all items at the time of separation; in other instances, it is appropriate to value all items at the time of the Judgment of Divorce; and in some instances, it is appropriate to value items at the time of sale of that specific item. When dealing with real estate, the best way to determine the fair market value is to actually sell it. In most cases, however, there is no agreement that the real estate be sold. In those instances, if the parties cannot agree as to the fair market value, then an appraiser can be hired to provide a certified appraisal as to the fair market value of the property. Depending on the market at that time, those appraisals can grow stale after a few months, so it may be necessary to update the appraisal accordingly until such time as a decision is made by the Court as to the division of the real estate. In circumstances involving other assets, if the parties cannot agree on a date certain on which all assets will be valued, it is up to the litigants to convince the Court that the Court should utilize a specific date as the valuation date for all assets. Some of the factors the Court may consider include, the length of the parties' separation; the contribution by each party post separation to any increase in value of the asset; the length of the parties' marriage; the age of the parties; and the length of time the parties have owned the asset. It is imperative that you seek an Attorney's advice prior to and during the process of the divorce, as the date of valuation of any asset may impact the date utilized by the Court for other issues in the divorce.
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