If you’re considering a divorce or are in the process of a divorce it is particularly important to have a good understanding of how much your property is worth. The division of property during a divorce is often one of the most contentious aspects of the entire separation process. In most cases, the property cannot be divided until it is assigned a value. Property value can be assigned by agreement or by appraisal and then court order if necessary. The sooner the property value is assigned the better. Salt Lake City divorce attorney Emy Cordano understands the importance of getting the valuation of property correct so you can get through this process and on with life without being taken advantage of.
Property under Utah law includes real estate, vehicles, recreational vehicles (ATVs, 5th wheels, snowmobiles, motorcycles, etc.), financial assets, businesses, jewelry, timeshares, travel miles, retirement, precious metals, and many other items.
In many cases, the most valuable property that a married couple has between them is the marital home. Due to the higher value of this asset, it is certainly going to be a good idea to use the services of an expert, such as a certified real estate appraiser. While you will have to pay for the cost of an appraisal (usually shared between the parties), such costs will be relatively modest and well worth the value when it comes to your divorce case. A good attorney would require this if you don’t have a very recent appraisal and most people don’t.
Other ways to estimate the value of the marital property could be using the most recent tax appraisal or a market analysis done by a realtor. These valuations will not be as accurate as one from a certified appraiser, but they may be more cost-effective, although tax assessments are typically too low – which may give one party an unfair advantage.
The marital home will likely not be the only property that needs to be divided and where a value must be determined. For personal property, such as furniture and appliances, it will not usually be economical to hire an expert appraiser to determine the value of these assets. These items are not going to be valued at their purchase price or the replacement value. Typically, personal property will be valued at the amount of money it would bring at a garage sale or similar type of sale situation. But, this depends on the preciousness and uniqueness of the items at issue. If there are particular items such as art, jewelry; special silver, glass or porcelain items; Persian rugs, etc. these items may well need to be formally appraised.
Typically, the value of vehicles can usually be obtained by using various blue book values that are accessible through the internet.
If there are businesses owned by either of the parties involved in the divorce, this may require an expert business appraisal. If a business is fairly simple, the two parties may be able to agree upon a reasonable value, and assuming both parties are involved in the business. However, more complex businesses or businesses where one party is entirely excluded from the business operations, voluntarily or intentionally, will often necessitate using certified public accountants, forensic accountants, and or a business valuation analyst to thoroughly review the assets, liabilities, income, and expenses of the operation.
401(k) plans and pension plans present their own challenges when it comes to dividing assets in a divorce. This is because determining the premarital portion of any defined contribution plan can be complicated. In some cases, this may require the assistance of a forensic accountant to go through all account statements. Prior to getting divorced, it will be important to determine the value of the retirement on the date of marriage if any portion of your retirement is premarital.
If you are going through a divorce, or are considering doing so, you may be concerned about how any of your marital property will be valued. This division of assets is important, though often contentious, part of the property separation process. It doesn’t have to be. The numbers never lie. With the right attorney and experts (if necessary) on your side, you will be able to easily determine the specifics for a fair and equitable division of property. You can count on having Emy Cordano, a skilled Salt Lake City divorce attorney, by your side to handle this issue for you. You can contact us by clicking here or call us at 801-804-5152 for a free initial consultation.