(1) Determine the overall fair market value of the home;
The fair market value is usually determined as of the date of filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, but a different date might be used if there is a good reason.
(2) Determine whether there has been any passive appreciation in value of the home;
Passive appreciation is usually defined to mean appreciation caused by market forces. That is, no additional funds or personal labor were used to create the appreciation in value.
(3) Determine whether marital funds were used to pay the mortgage, etc.
Determine whether the passive appreciation is a marital asset, which must include findings of fact by the trial court that marital funds were used to pay the mortgage and that the non-owner spouse made contributions to the property. Moreover, the trial court must determine to what extent the contributions of the non-owner spouse affected the appreciation of the property:
(4) Determine the value of the passive appreciation that accrued during the marriage and is subject to equitable distribution.
If the balance of the mortgage encumbering a non-marital home at the time of the marriage was 90% of the value of the home, then the portion of the passive appreciation in value (if the other steps are satisfied) which should be considered a marital asset is 90%
(5) Determine how the value is allocated.
The Court specifically approved of the methodology espoused by the First District Court of Appeal in Stevens v. Stevens, 651 So. 2d 1306, 1307 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995): "...the portion of the appreciated value of a separate asset which should be treated as a marital asset will be the same as the fraction calculated by dividing the indebtedness with which the asset was encumbered at the time of the marriage by the value of the asset at the time of the marriage."
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