When you and your ex decide to divorce, you're required to divide up marital assets. Each item must be appraised and assigned a valuation date before you do so. While the process involved in assigning a monetary value to your property may seem pretty straightforward, it's often not the case.
Each jurisdiction has different laws that apply for how soon after a divorce is filed that a couple has to have their property appraised. In some states, this valuation must occur as soon as divorce proceedings have gotten underway. In others, it may need to happen on the separation or divorce filing date or by the trial date.
If you live in a jurisdiction where the valuation doesn't have to occur until the trial date, then your divorce attorney may recommend that you delay having your assets appraised. If you're selective about the date, an item's value may be starkly different from what it otherwise would have been.
When the date of separation is can also impact how you and your ex divide up property. Any assets acquired during the marriage generally will be considered marital property. Anything that is acquired after legal separation has been filed will be considered as separate.
There are jurisdictions and instances in which some types of property may be valued as of the date of separation and required to be appraised by the trial date.
Active assets, such as a marital home or business, are generally appraised soon after the date of separation. The reason that this type of property is assigned a value then is because it has the potential of changing if an owner takes certain actions with it.
Passive assets include investments such as stock portfolios or vacant land. While the value of these can greatly vary, it often fluctuates more so because of market forces than because of actions an owner takes.
It's important that couples preparing to divorce inventory all assets right away so that they can begin determining which ones qualify as separate or marital property. Those that a spouse brought into the marriage or that are covered by a prenuptial agreement often qualify as separate property.
Identifying the marital assets can help you know what needs to be appraised and help your Fort Myers high-asset divorce attorney better guide you to getting the best value for them.