Burden of Proof on the Party Asserting a Nonmarital Value to a Marital Residence

Konz v. Konz, 4D09-4454
June 1, 2011

The Fourth District addressed an issue of valuation regarding a marital residence during a dissolution of marriage proceeding.  At the time of the marriage, appellant, husband owned a home that had a fair market value of $380,000 with a $25,000 mortgage.  During the marriage, the home was demolished and the mortgage was paid off.  The parties built a new home on the same lot, with a fair market value of $520,000.  In the equitable distribution, the trial court treated the entire home as a marital asset and equally divided the equity.

On appeal, the husband argued that the trial court failed to award him a portion of the value of the home as a nonmarital asset. The Fourth District disagreed, holding that the former husband failed to meet his burden to establish the value of the nonmarital portion of the marital home.  See Jahnke v. Jahnke, 804 So.2d 513, 517 (Fla. 3d DCA 2001).  There was no evidence of the value of the lot by itself, which would have qualified as the nonmarital portion of the value of the marital home, when the original house was torn down.  The Fourth District noted that the failure to prove the nonmarital value of the lot distinguished the case from Oldham v. Oldham, 683 So. 2d 579, 580 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996). The Fourth District affirmed the equal equity distribution of the marital residence.