When in the midst of the property division that takes place after one files a New Jersey divorce, including a bed and board divorce, the couple must take the important but often difficult and contentious step of putting a value on their marital property.
They must do so because the court will expect the parties to divide their property in a fair manner that benefits them both roughly equally. While the division does not have to be perfectly 50-50 and usually won’t be, the judge will divide the property based on objective value, that is, in terms of the market value of the property.
While this can be done via a hearing before the judge that will usually involve expert testimony, it is often easier, and cheaper, when the couple can negotiate how much their property is worth and who gets what.
On this note, it is important for couples who are trying to get an idea of what their property is worth, to distinguish sentimental value and market value.
Sentimental value is what a person thinks his or her house, car, furniture, personal items and the like are worth. Usually, because emotions are involved, the sentimental value someone puts on a piece of property is usually a lot more than the property’s market value, or what the property would sell for in an ordinary and arm’s length transaction.
This isn’t necessarily bad, as a person might want to keep certain items following their divorce precisely because of their sentimental value. However, it is important for a person to remember that what he or she thinks something is worth may not, objectively speaking, be the property’s actual market value.
Keeping this in mind can help a person think clearly about their best interests and can also keep them from getting the short end of the stick financially. For that matter, even happily married couples should keep sentimental value in mind when selling their home, car or business.