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Six ways to valuate assets in your divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Family Law

The property division process in your divorce can be contentious, and for good reason. How your marital assets are split can dictate what your and your spouse’s financial situation will look like for years to come. Therefore, you must advocate for the financial resources that you need.

Virginia recognizes equitable division, meaning that marital assets should be divided fairly. To reach a fair division, you might need to determine the value of certain assets.

If you undervalue an asset, you might lose out during the settlement negotiation process, thereby leaving you at a financial disadvantage post-divorce.

Ways to properly value marital assets

To get a fair shake out of your divorce, you need to properly valuate marital assets. There are several ways to ensure appropriate valuation. This includes:

  1. Conducting an inventory: You won’t know the true value of the marital estate unless you inventory everything. Be thorough so that you capture everything here, and be sure to consider whether your spouse is trying to hide assets from you. Once you’ve conducted the inventory, categorize the assets so that it’s easier to parse through them and to devise a property division strategy.
  2. Gathering value-related documentation: By obtaining receipts and prior appraisals, you give yourself a starting point in the valuation process. This can protect you from a spouse who tries to lowball you from the get-go.
  3. Conducting a business valuation: If you and your spouse own a business, then you’ll need an expert to come in an assess the business’s finances, debts, and assets. They can also project its future income generating potential to determine its current market value. There are several approaches to business valuation, though, so be sure to choose the one that’s most advantageous to you.
  4. Having your home appraised: Having your home appraised prior to entering settlement negotiations gives you a clear indication of what the family residence is worth, thus providing a clearer indication of how it should be dealt with in your divorce.
  5. Using a professional to appraise other high-value assets: If you have expensive jewelry, artwork, or other expensive assets, then you should consider seeking out an expert who can help assign an appropriate value to those assets. Only then can you rest assured that you’re properly handling those assets in your property division.
  6. Searching online marketplaces: For your other assets, it’s not a bad idea to look them up on the Internet so that you gain a sense of what they’re selling for online. This gives you an idea of each asset’s fair market value. Keep a running list of what you think each of these assets is worth. To save time, see if you and your spouse can simply agree to an assigned value of certain assets.

Be proactive to avoid being taken advantage of in your divorce

Your financial future is on the line when you divorce. That can be scary, but you don’t have to let your spouse take control of the situation. Instead, you can proactively seek out valuations and conduct your own tally of assets and their assigned values. By being thorough, you better position yourself to successfully negotiate the divorce settlement that’s fair and right for you and your future.