For most couples ending their marriage, their home is usually the biggest asset. For those lucky enough to have equity or value in the home, the question often arises as to how to distribute the value of the home’s net equity in a dissolution of marriage.
In Florida, the court’s determination of value of a marital asset, such as the marital home, is defined by its fair market value. In other words, the price it would bring in a hypothetical, arms length and good faith market transaction. Many soon to be divorced spouses cannot afford to keep the home based on their individual income alone, so to equitably distribute or divide the asset, the courts (or the parties by settlement agreement) will place the home on the open, market for sale, and for the parties to split the net proceeds from the sale. There are several ways to come up with the home’s fair market value for sale purposes, but the most common are either a real estate broker’s comparative sales comparison, or obtaining a certified home appraisal through a certified appraiser. If you and you spouse cannot agree upon the fair market value of the home and the issue becomes a contested matter in a divorce trial, I strongly recommend that you obtain a certified appraisal of the home to be able to introduce such report (and the appraiser’s testimony) as evidence at the trial.
It is important that you know what the law in Florida is regarding equitable distribution principles that can effect your ability to sell the home, or keep the home post-divorce, especially if you have minor children. Please give us a call at 386.257.1222 if you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss further.
Posted May 15, 2014