For certain types of marital property like bank accounts and publicly traded stocks, determining the financial value of a jointly owned asset and equitably splitting it between divorcing spouses is a relatively straightforward process. For other kinds of assets as well as some types of debts, valuating marital property is a much more complex endeavor.
The appraisal of assets and liabilities in Hamilton County is very often a sticking point in divorce proceedings, especially those between two high-net-worth individuals. Assistance from a qualified property division attorney could make a substantial difference in your ability to quickly and accurately valuate divisible property and streamline this stage of your divorce.
As a rule of thumb, appraisal is generally necessary in a Hamilton County divorce when a couple has assets and/or liabilities that do not have objective financial value, which can apply to a large variety of property. For example, the purchase price of a piece of furniture is an objective financial figure, but the value of that piece at the moment a marriage is dissolved will almost certainly be different than that initial value. This is due to depreciation—or, if the piece is an antique or otherwise uniquely valued, appreciation—over time.
With that in mind, real estate almost always requires independent appraisal during the divorce process, as do unique items like artwork or jewelry, pensions, and business interests or jointly owned businesses. It may also be appropriate to valuate non-marital assets and liabilities in certain situations since the net worth of an individual might be relevant to later decisions regarding equitable division of marital assets and even spousal or child support obligations.
The first and most important question to answer when appraising marital assets and debts in Hamilton County is the question of what definition of “value” will be applied to the assets and debts in question. The subjective financial worth of a particular asset can vary substantially from person to person, and disagreements on how to value a particular piece of property are a common way in which the property division process gets unnecessarily dragged out.
Most physical assets are defined by either their fair market value or their liquidation value—respectively, what price the asset’s owner could get for it from a willing buyer on the open market, and what price the asset could be sold at if liquidated during or immediately after distribution during divorce. Businesses owned by a married couple may be better defined instead by their book value, which is the surplus—or deficit—produced by all business assets combined less all liabilities.
Deciding how specific assets will be valued in a scenario like this is one of the many things a couple can address preemptively in a premarital or postmarital contract. So long as such an agreement is made without fraud or duress, the court will enforce it during an ensuing divorce.
The asset division stage of divorce can be immensely stressful and time-consuming even if everyone agrees on who should receive which assets and debts from the marriage. In more complex situations where the value of certain marital property is in dispute, independent appraisal may be crucial to ensuring equitable distribution.
A seasoned legal professional could provide crucial assistance with facilitating the appraisal of assets and liabilities in Hamilton County. Call today for a consultation.