Determining The True Value of Marital Assets In Divorce
During a divorce, you and your spouse will submit financial disclosure forms, listing your income, debts, and assets. In addition to any proceedings involving alimony or child support, these worksheets will be used in determining the equitable division of property. Whether you intend to negotiate a marital property settlement with your soon to be ex-spouse or anticipate needing a judge to resolve the situation, it is imperative to get an accurate value of your belongings. While it may be a straightforward process to determine the value of land, homes, or cars, furnishings and personal items can be more challenging, and may be worth more than you think.
Getting an Accurate Value of Your Belongings
For the duration of your marriage, you likely made significant contributions of time, energy, and money, and you want to make sure you recoup your rightful share, rather than counting your investment as a loss. The first step in ensuring you get the maximum amount you are entitled to in a marital property settlement is by making a thorough inventory of all the property you and your spouse purchased or acquired during your marriage. In addition to the more obvious, big ticket items, be sure and include the following:
- Sports and recreational items, such as boats, bikes, club memberships or timeshares;
- Craft and hobby related items, including current inventory, supplies, and specialized tools or equipment;
- Collectibles, such as baseball cards, coins, and figurines;
- Artwork and antiques, including books, fabrics, furniture, and home furnishings;
- Stocks, savings bonds, and shares in businesses.
The above items can all have significant value, and things such as collectibles and antiques may have been purchased for far less than what they are now worth. To accurately value these items, look on sites such as eBay or check your local auction house.
How Your Actions Affected The Value of Marital Property
Under Section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes, the judge in your case will look at several factors in determining an equitable division of marital property. This includes any actions you or your spouse may have taken to increase or decrease the value of individual objects. If the judge determines that your spouse wasted, depleted, or destroyed assets during the two years prior to your divorce, you may be entitled to a greater share in the settlement. Actions your spouse may have taken which can affect division of property include:
- Giving away excessive amounts of money or property to friends or other family members;
- Spending money or giving property to someone with whom they are having an affair;
- Selling property to support an alcohol, drug, or gambling addiction;
- Destroying property during fits of rage, or as a way of punishing you;
- Negligently conducting business or not caring for objects resulting in a loss in profits or value.
The above are just a few factors that could influence your divorce settlement. To find out more about how marital property division in divorce proceedings, call or contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC and request a free consultation in our Ft. Lauderdale office with our experienced Florida divorce attorney today.