One of the most important, and often contentious, aspects of divorce is
the division of assets. For a marital estate to be divided equitably,
each asset must be assigned an accurate monetary value. While this may
seem straightforward for some assets (cash, for example), the task can
become much more complex for other types of assets. It takes more than
knowledge of the current dollar value of an asset to divide the asset
properly; a thorough understanding of the asset’s liquidity and
potential tax implications is also necessary. A Portland divorce attorney
who is well versed in the valuation and distribution of assets can ensure
that your financial interests are protected.
Below is a basic overview of how different types of assets are valued in
Real estate values fluctuate often, so it is important to have your home
or other real estate property appraised by a licensed appraiser, especially
if you or your ex-spouse wishes to keep the property. This will ensure
a fair and accurate valuation. Alternatively, you may decide to sell the
marital residence and split the proceeds from the sale.
Investments may either be separate or marital property. For them to be
divided fairly, their present value must be weighed against when the investment
was made and with which spouse’s money. For example, for a $25,000
investment made by one spouse prior to the marriage that appreciated to
$45,000, the gain of $20,000 may be subject to division during divorce.
However, if you added to your initial investment with marital income,
the entire value of the investment may be subject to division because
it could now be considered marital property.
The valuation of a business involves many factors, including the business’s
income and expenses, the business’s tangible and intangible property
(including everything from office equipment to trademarks), and more.
The fair market value of the business will also depend on its appreciation
or depreciation over time, the valuation date, and the formula or method
used to determine how much the business is worth. Appraisers and other
business experts will likely be required to determine which aspects of
the business are separate property from before the marriage and which
aspects are marital property that is subject to division.
Pensions & Retirement Accounts
Defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s, are simpler to value than
defined benefit plans. For defined contribution plans, the value is simply
the balance of the account. For benefit pension plans, the valuation date
is important because of the constant fluctuation in value. These plans
can be divided in one of three ways: the present value or cash out method
(awarding a lump-sum to the non-employee spouse in exchange for the employee
getting to keep the pension), the deferred division or future share (in
which each spouse is awarded a share of the benefits if/when they are
paid in the future), and reserved jurisdiction (in which the court will
order a distribution sometime in the future).
Questions About Property Division? Consult with a Portland Divorce Lawyer
Property valuation and division matters can be highly complex. If you are
considering a divorce in Oregon, it is in your best interests to work
with a Portland divorce attorney at McKinley Irvin. Our firm is known
for providing personalized client service and attorneys who practice at
the forefront of family law. We encourage you to
get in touch with our firm to learn more about how our team can assist you.