When you’re going through a divorce, everything you own has to be assigned a dollar value in order to determine how to divide the family assets fairly — that task can be painful enough even when you don’t have much beyond your personal furnishings and a few pieces of electronics to divide.
If you happen to have a family business, a house, a couple cars, assorted stocks and bonds and other investments, maybe even a collection or two, the process can be downright excruciating.
The first thing that you and your divorcing spouse have to do is agree on a date to use for the valuation. Why does an exact date matter? Because market fluctuations can change the value of any given item drastically between one date and the next, it’s important the see that the same dates are used for all items by both sides.
For example, a lot of expensive gold jewelry might be worth a lot less a few days into the divorce and then some stock market fear may suddenly push the price of gold sky-high a few days later.
So what date do you use? In Michigan, the date is somewhat discretionary, so you may want to use the current date or the date one member of the couple filed for divorce as the valuation point. The official date of separation — when the two stopped living together — is also a good choice.
The big trouble comes when parties can’t agree on what valuation point to use on any given item because there is such a big difference in values that it makes a significant change in one party’s bargaining ability.
In that case, you may need to try mediation to settle on a date for everything or let the judge decide.
For more information on how our firm can help you through a complex divorce case that involves the valuation of significant assets, please visit our page.