The Role of Fair Market Value in the Division of Marital Property


As part of your Pasadena divorce, you must have the court sign off on a division of marital property. Even if you and your partner divided up your belongings when you decided to separate, the agreement you worked out together needs to be signed by a judge. Until then, you both technically have equal rights to the items classified as community property.

Before property can be divided, the court will need to know the fair market value of the items. This is the money you'd get if you decided to sell the item in its current condition. For example, the Kelley Blue Book would be a good place to look when determining the fair market value of a car. If you own a home together, a real estate agent could prepare a list of comparable values or you could get a formal appraisal. For antiques or collectibles, the services of a specialized appraiser might be needed.

Selling your property and dividing the cash would be one option, but most couples have specific items that they want to keep. Fair market value is important during negotiations because it is used to determine what constitutes an even trade. For example, your spouse might get to keep a car in exchange for letting you keep the brand new home theater system and matching living room furniture.

Most divorce attorneys will tell you that it is best to go into the negotiation process prepared to accept that you will not get everything you want. If you aren't ready to compromise to some extent, your negotiations will be long and painful. Have a mental list of the items that mean the most to you and ask your lawyer to focus on making sure you are awarded those items.

How Can We Help?

If you have need of assistance with a divorce-related issue, please contact our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our team of skilled Pasadena divorce attorneys are prepared to use every resource possible to ensure that you receive a fair settlement.