Once the extent of the community versus separate marital estates is established, the next step is to determine the value of the assets and debts. Various procedures are used depending on the nature of the asset. For cash assets, like bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and most types of retirement accounts, the value is obviously the balance of the account. Some retirement accounts such as pension plans have to be valued by a forensic accountant in combination with an actuarial to determine life expectancy. For a real property valuation, the tax value can be used, or a realtor may be consulted to give an opinion on value.
For closely-held business interests, a forensic business valuation expert, usually an accountant that specializes in business valuations, will be hired by each party to examine the different approaches to business valuation and give an opinion as to the values of the business. In any closely-held business interest, there must be a distinction made between personal goodwill and professional goodwill. Personal goodwill is that value to the business that is unique to the individual; whereas, professional goodwill is that goodwill separate and apart from the individual.
Personal property, like furniture, clothing, dishes, etc., will be valued at sales value – what the item can be sold for, usually garage sale value.
The valuation of property is a necessary step in every divorce. Make sure you know how your attorney is determining the value of the property in your possession AND the property in the possession of your ex. These valuations could make thousands of dollars difference. Call the Schoel Law Firm at 432-550-3870 if you need a divorce attorney!