Divorce is difficult. It’s painful, scary and overwhelming. That’s why we so often leave it up to divorce lawyers to handle the nuts and bolts.

While it’s never pleasant to focus on the money side of things, it is sadly, a necessary evil. Most couples collect a lot of assets while they’re married. Part of splitting up is splitting these assets in divorce – as fairly as possible. The biggest of these is most often property. Other assets can include pension plans, stock options, or brokerage accounts.

Deciding who gets what can be challenging – even in the most agreeable of situations. Fair apportionment of your assets is vital. And the key to that is to determine the value of the assets.

It’s worth noting that ‘fair’ doesn’t always mean ‘equal’.

When looking at property assets in d there are a number of factors to consider.

Generally speaking, all property obtained before the marriage is considered non-marital property. All property acquired after is considered marital property. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule.

When trying to reach an agreeable settlement, many people are surprised at how murky the waters can get.

For example, one party may enter into a marriage with a separately owned property. However, while married she decides to do extensive renovations and adds her husband as a co-owner to gain the extra cash needed to complete this work. This could mean the property loses its status as being separately owned and now forms part of the marital assets. In fact, if a husband contributes financially to his wife’s asset, it could now be deemed to be ‘theirs’.

As a starting point, a property will be assessed for its market value. In other words, what would it sell for in the normal course of events? However, this figure may only make up a small part of the final settlement.

Other factors that could play a part include:

  • Short and long-term financial security of both parties
  • Tax implications
  • Liquidity
  • Cost Basis (the original price of a property, plus purchasing expenses, cost of permanent improvements, and other costs, less accumulated depreciation.)
  • The down payment on the original purchase, and where it came from
  • When the property was purchased
  • Outstanding loans
  • Taxes and insurances
  • The contribution of each party to the property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family
  • The dissipation by each spouse of the marital or non-marital property
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The consideration of awarding the family home to the spouse who has custody of the children

As you can see, the valuation of an asset in a divorce may start with Rands and Cents. But there are many other factors that come into play as well. You will find that your valuation expert and your attorney need to work together to confirm many of these details.

The Property Partnership deals with these thorny matters as well as many more. You can place your trust in our team with decades of experience behind them.

Call us on 0860 999 440 or visit www.property-partnership.co.za for more information.