It is typical for spouses to accumulate assets during the marriage, especially when the union has lasted for years. But while spouses can put a price on some properties, it may be more challenging to objectively put a value on other assets. Consequently, divorcing parties have two methods they can employ to determine the value of marital assets.
Asset valuation by agreement
If the spouses can agree on the monetary value of each marital property, they can assign the value themselves. The parties can consider multiple factors, such as initial cost, contributions to the property, sentimental value, and other interests. While it is not always the case, this method is more likely used when the assets mostly include personal property, such as jewelry and cars.
Note that for asset valuation by agreement, the courts will still review the terms of the document to ensure that it is fair to both parties. Unless the parties can establish the reasonableness of the valuation, the court can reject the same.
Asset valuation by expert appraisal
Other divorcing parties opt for expert valuation to obtain a more accurate value of assets. This method is especially suitable for valuing real properties and high-value items, such as antiques and artwork. Additionally, it might be the better option when calculating the value of complex properties, like retirement assets.
With this method, the courts may require the expert valuator to testify about how they reached the value for each asset.
Both methods require the utmost attention
Whichever method divorcing parties choose to place a value on their marital assets, it is essential that they give their full attention and careful consideration. If they must, they also have the option to work with a legal professional to help them develop a strategy that will bring the most beneficial outcome possible.