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Home » How Are Certain Complex Assets Valued In A Divorce Case?

How Are Certain Complex Assets Valued In A Divorce Case?

December 14, 2023


During a divorce case, there are certain assets that can prove to be much more difficult to value than others. In our latest video blog, Partner & Attorney Carole T. Orland walks us through the process in which complex assets are valued, which assets can be the most challenging to value, and more.

What Are Some Examples Of Assets That Can Be Easily Valued?

Bank and brokerage accounts can be easily valued because they already have a certain value at the time of the divorce. Additionally, real estate can be easily valued to some extent because you can get certified licensed appraisers to value the real estate, which isn’t necessarily always scientific. Those values can vary, but they’re capable of being valued. Lastly, retirement accounts can be easily valued at the time of the divorce, and at the time of dissolution.

What Are Some Examples Of Assets That May Not Be Easily Valued?

Art, jewelry, and personal property can be difficult to evaluate properly. On the financial side, private equity interests, or things like carried interests can prove difficult to value as well. In fact, private equity is among one of the most complex assets to value, so much so that it is often not valued, but handled in different ways.

How Does An” If And When” Scenario Work With Certain Complex Assets?

There are certain assets that aren’t readily divisible at the time of the divorce. When this circumstance occurs, we treat it by saying we’ll divide them “if, as, and when” between the spouse and the ex-spouse. This may be stock options that they vest when there’s a window that they could potentially be sold, or distributions that are going to occur from some private equity situation. The distributions that occur post-divorce will be divided according to whatever allocation the parties have agreed on.

How Does One Account For The Division Of Assets In An If, As, And When Scenario?

The answer to this question is typically simple, and in most agreements or in most judgments by the court, there’ll be some reporting requirement. For example, if your former spouse is going to receive a payout, a distribution, or options that are going to vest, within a certain number of days (ex. 7,14, 30) then your former spouse will be required to pay you out your share within a certain period of time. Most often, you will also get documentation so you know exactly what the payout of the distribution was, what the vesting schedule was, and what your portion is.

How Far Out After A Divorce Can An Asset Be Divided If, As, And When?

There’s really no timeframe for that, and it depends on the circumstances. Typically, if we’re doing an as-and-when scenario, and we’re attempting to divide assets that were held during the marriage, as the years go on post-judgment, an ex-spouse will see a decreasing amount of value, if, as, and when it occurs. Further, the distribution may be greater within a year or two of the divorce, meaning the distribution may be a lesser allocation to the ex-spouse.

If you have questions regarding the valuation of complex assets in your divorce case, it’s highly advised that you seek experienced counsel. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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