Marital Assets and Liabilities Part 13 of 15 | Divorce Attorney Fort Myers/Naples

Diminished Assets

  • A circuit court’s valuation of an asset must be supported by competent, substantial evidence. Tradler v. Tradler, 100 So.3d 735, 738 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012).
  • “Substantial evidence” means “‘some (more than a mere iota or scintilla), real, material, pertinent, and relevant evidence (as distinguished from ethereal, metaphysical, speculative or merely theoretical evidence or hypothetical possibilities)’ ” that has definite probative value.
  • Lost Earnings on a Retirement Account. The accountant’s testimony was insufficient for the simple reason that the Wife offered no proof of how the funds in the retirement accounts were actually invested. For all the court knew, they were held in bond funds or money market accounts. And even if the accounts were invested in stocks, the increases (or decreases) in their values could not be determined by consulting an index that was not shown to be relevant to those particular investments. Without evidence of the composition of the retirement investments, the increase in a Standard and Poor’s index simply had no probative value. In short, the accountant’s testimony in this regard was speculative. McNorton v. McNorton, 135 So.3d 482 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014).
  • Reasonably Related to the Marriage. Sums that have been diminished during dissolution proceedings for purposes reasonably related to the marriage, such as attorney’s fees for the dissolution, should not be included in an equitable distribution scheme unless there is evidence that: 1) one spouse intentionally dissipated the asset for his or her own benefit and 2) for a purpose unrelated to the marriage. Ballard v. Ballard, 158 So.3d 641 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).

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