Valuing Assets

After assets are identified, they must be valued. Valuing the asset depends on the type of asset.

Some assets are more readily valued than others. For example, bank accounts and some investment accounts are valued monthly with a statement. Other investment accounts are valued on a quarterly basis. Obtaining statements is generally straight-forward. Either you already have access to the documents, your spouse has accessed and provides them in response to discovery, and/or we can subpoena the complete records straight from the bank.

With regard to restricted stock units, stock options, or similar long-term incentive compensation, generally valuation is straight-forward and the contested issue is whether the stock is marital or separate. In other words, you and your spouse are likely to agree on how much the stock is worth but will be fighting over whether the stock was earned during the marriage.

Valuing real estate is slightly more complicated, but still fairly straight-forward. The complication is that the court’s duty is to determine fair market value, and there are multiple sources for fair market value including, typically, the county auditor’s website and private real estate appraisals. Part of the overall divorce strategy will be whether you want to keep the marital residence or find somewhere new to live. The decision of whether to keep the marital residence intersects with many other decisions including your post-divorce budget and your children’s school district. WSM’s Divorce Attorneys can help you navigate this complicated process.

Valuing a business can be a much more complicated process. Generally, valuing a business requires additional, in-depth discovery beyond what happens in a typical divorce and retaining the services of a forensic accountant. In some counties, if you are awarded half the value of a business you cannot also seek alimony from the business. In other counties, you can be awarded half the value of the business and ongoing support from the full asset. If your family’s primary source of income is a business, be sure to consult with an experienced WSM Divorce Attorney.