How Does the Family Court Value Assets and Debts in a Massachusetts Divorce Case

| Aug 7, 2015 | Divorce |

If you are in the midst of a Massachusetts divorce you likely understand how important the division of assets is relative to the larger divorce process. Unless children are involved, the division of assets and debts in divorce cases is almost always one of the most important and most controversial issues to surface in a Massachusetts divorce. So what’s the best way to determine the value of assets and debts in divorce cases?

When we’re talking about checking accounts, savings accounts, or retirement accounts, the value of these assets are typically easy to determine. Same thing is true with medical bills or credit card debts accumulated during the marriage. All you have to do is look at the statement closest to the date of filing, as that usually leaves little room for dispute.

Unfortunately, not everything is so easy to agree on. For those assets that do not have an obvious value, the fair market value is typically used. When people refer to the fair market value of something, it generally means the amount the item could sell for in an arm’s length transaction between two unrelated parties.

For example, when determining the value of vehicles, Kelly Blue Book is often used to determine their value.

For real estate, it is often best to spend the money on a formal appraisal, though a simpler market analysis can also be done to reach a number, assuming both sides agree.

For personal property, it can be a bit trickier as there are no clear guidelines. The general rule is that the property, such as furniture or antiques, should be assigned the value you could sell it for, perhaps at a yard sale. Only if the items of personal property are exceptionally valuable would you want to spend the time and money on an appraisal. 

Whether you are in the midst of a divorce or contemplating a divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar via email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a free no obligation consultation to discuss your situation.

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