All of us want to keep our litigation expenses at a minimum when we are going through a divorce. Sometimes, however, it pays to spend more to hire a valuation expert. This is frequently true if financial issues involve substantial alimony claims and equitable distribution of high net worth assets. If your divorce is complicated by a business ownership involving either of the parties, retirement plans, significant non-marital assets, or a large and complicated pool of assets to be valued and distributed, you may also want to include a valuation expert on your divorce team.
First, what is a valuation expert? A valuation expert is a professional, often a CPA, with divorce accounting/valuation expertise and experience testifying in divorce cases. Your valuation expert may be utilized as a consultant regarding one or more of the financial issues presented by your divorce, or hired to complete a full-blown valuation of all assets, address other financial issues, and testify about the same at your divorce final hearing. Input from a valuation expert early in the divorce process can enhance your chances of settlement of complicated financial issues, greatly reducing your divorce litigation expenses.
Small, closely held businesses often require special scrutiny by a business valuation expert to determine, for example, whether personal expenses are being paid and deducted as business expenses. Correctly calculating the legitimate income of the business owner spouse can have a significant impact on the amount of child support, alimony and payment of attorney’s fees ultimately awarded. A valuation expert can also determine which approach is best in the valuation of the business in your divorce case. It is usually not advisable to rely on the company’s accountant for any of this information.
If you or someone you know need help in a divorce, please contact an experienced divorce attorney.