Asset valuation key in divorce settlement

The division of assets can sometimes be challenging and even contentious in a high-asset divorce case. Assets must be valued at a certain point in time for the court to properly divide them.

Although a valuation date may be at any time a court decides, each state has a specific rule it tries to abide by. Georgia’s valuation date is the date of the final judgment. If something needs to be valued and there is no date of final judgment, a court will use the current date.

Many states use the date of separation or the date of filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. If you are filing a marital settlement agreement because your divorce is uncontested, you must have a date of valuation, so that asset division and property division is fair in the settlement agreement.

Because Georgia law says to use “today’s date,” that leaves it pretty open-ended. If the parties have been discussing divorce and decide they want to settle out of court, one of the parties could devalue an asset before the settlement agreement is signed. During initial divorce discussions, the parties should choose a fair valuation date and put it in the agreement, if they know the divorce will be uncontested.

A further potential complication is the division of liabilities. For example, one spouse could significantly devalue an asset because he or she doesn’t want the other spouse to benefit from it. It money is owed on that asset, it cannot be sold for the amount owed, and it becomes a liability that cannot be disposed of easily.

If you own property or have high-value assets, contact a Georgia family law attorney experienced in high-asset divorce and equitable distribution for timely response to questions and concerns and diligent representation of your divorce-related legal interests.

Related Resource: Forbes, “How the valuation dates of different assets are decided during divorce” Oct. 12, 2011

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