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Valuation tips that may be useful in high-asset divorces

In our last post, we described the importance of revising one’s retirement plans after filing for divorce. For example, beneficiary designations in retirement accounts will likely need to be updated to reflect one’s changed personal circumstances. Income projections may also need to be adjusted, paying particular heed to the number of working years a person has remaining to stabilize his or her finances.

Closely related to the topic of retirement planning is the issue of valuing unconventional holdings in a divorce. High-asset divorces, in particular, may involve holdings in a family or privately held business, a partnership, other equity positions, or pre-IPO stock. As with other assets in the marital estate, investments must be valued in order to assist a court in the division of property. A valuation expert can help in that regard, and also determine the value of other securities, such as a life insurance policy. 

Our law firm has helped many clients facing a high-asset divorce, including those with a family business. We understand that a business valuation may include such intangible factors as each spouse’s contributions to its success, and that experts may disagree on fair market valuations. Tax statements, individual accounts and business records can all assist in that valuation process. Fortunately, we also have a network of qualified professionals throughout Tampa and the surrounding areas who have helped us in past divorces involving business valuation disputes.

In fact, our divorce website describes how an individual can start documenting his or her marital estate in advance. Documents such as our firm’s equitable distribution worksheet and a financial affidavit can help an individual more accurately plan for his or her new life. One caution: an affidavit is sworn under oath, which means it could be used against the individual in court for certain purposes, like impeachment. So please take care when filling it out and consult with an attorney.

The financial affidavit lists an individual’s income, assets and debts. That includes one's salary, any expenses associated with insurance or child-raising, outstanding debts to creditors or other monthly liabilities, and other items. When completed, the document may help an individual to estimate his or her total monthly income, less any expenses. The difference between a surplus and deficit can be useful in responding to alimony requests. It can help the court determine an individual’s to pay.

Source: Forbes, “Getting the Most From a High-Dollar Divorce,” Russ Alan Prince, Dec. 1, 2014

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