Determining the fair value of marital property and assets

Every divorce must prioritize a fair and just division of marital property. When dividing marital property, the courts must first determine and validate the value of each party’s assets.

Rather than divide property at a subjective 50/50 split between ex-spouses, marital assets must undergo a valuation process according to particular legal rules and regulations.

Date of valuation

Because property can appreciate or depreciate in value over time, the parties must set a date of valuation. This allows each legal team to assess the value of marital property according to its status on a single date, typically the date of separation.

Any increase or decrease in value, as well as any acquisition of additional property, is exempt and separate from this process of marital property division.

Value standards

It is not always reasonable to consider the original financial investment with regard to marital property. Rather, other standards of valuation are more appropriate.

  • Intrinsic value is a subjective measure used for property that may not have market value. Property with sentimental or personal value can receive an intrinsic value assignment that considers a monetary value in proportion to the value perceived by the owner.
  • Fair market value determines the current price of property if offered to a hypothetical buyer on the date of valuation. This value is often dictated by market fluctuations, but some cases may consider fair value over fair market value, which would exclude potential discounts or potential marketability obstacles.

These value standards appraise marital property as objectively as possible to ensure that both parties receive equitable distribution of valuable property for the fairest possible outcome.


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