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How Does the Family Court Value Assets and Debts in Divorce Cases?

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Aug 04, 2015 | 0 Comments

If you are in the midst of a South Carolina 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 South Carolina divorce. So what's the best way to determine the value of assets and debts in divorce cases? Keep reading to find out.

Some things are straightforward

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.

Some things aren't

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.

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J. Benjamin Stevens

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