Many of you husbands (and wives) may have received tools this morning for Christmas. Are those tools considered marital property? In general, yes, tools are considered marital property if they were acquired during the marriage. The court can distribute them. A recent First District Court of Appeals case dealt with this issue. In Naylor v. Naylor, the Wife listed the parties tools as $20,000.00 on her financial affidavit. The trial court distributed the tools to the Husband as part of equitable distribution of the assets and liabilities. But, the appellate court ended up reversing the trial court’s decision.
The Wife did not provide any specifics regarding the tools during the testimony. She had no written documentation regarding what tools the parties had and gave no testimony regarding any specific tools. She further testified that the $20,000.00 was an estimated blanket value, and had no specifics to back up the $20,000.00 valuation. The appellate court found that there was not competent and substantial evidence for the court to have placed a value of $20,000.00 on the tools. The appellate court cited to several prior cases that gave some insight into how to better present evidence regarding valuation of the tools. The Wife could have presented photographs of each tool and testified to the approximate value of the tool. The Wife could have been specific in her testimony and named each and every tool the parties owned. In order for the court to value your tools, and any other personal property, such as jewelry or furniture, you must be specific regarding the personal property and estimate a value for each piece of property. When you meet with your expert family law attorney, he or she will instruct you to take photos of your personal property and make a detailed list of each item and the estimated value. Being as specific as possible will help ensure that the court takes into consideration your personal property items and distributes them appropriately.