Preparation - Evaluating Assets
INVESTIGATING ASSETS DURING THE PROCEEDINGS
- Retirement Plans
In a dissolution of marriage action, both parties are responsible
for providing each other, as well as the court, information regarding
the value of their assets. Gathering all available documentation
of assets accrued during the marriage is crucial to successfully
completing the divorce process.
Valuation of personal property, furniture, and household goods
is based upon a current “fair market value”. This generally
means what you could reasonably sell an item for at the present
date, such as “garage sale” prices. Moreover, you can
easily obtain book values for automobiles through internet resources
or by contacting car dealerships. With respect to homes, a real
estate broker can prepare a market analysis for minimal or no charge.
Other key documents, such as titles to automobiles and deeds for
any real property, are important in the valuation process. If you
do not have access to these documents you can obtain them from
the motor vehicle department or the clerk and recorder’s
Next, you may want to obtain a current credit report will provide
information regarding your creditors. A credit report can also
be useful in verifying debts of either party and to review the
debt history from your marriage.
In addition, both parties need to provide historical statements
of all financial accounts such as bank accounts and accounts with
investment or brokerage firms. You should try to obtain the value
of each of the accounts both as of the date of marriage and at
the present. If this information is not forthcoming your spouse,
you may need a lawyer to obtain financial information by subpoena
or other, formal court processes, such as “discovery”.
Finally, if there is a business interest involved, you will need
to determine the best valuation method for the business. A common
valuation method is called the “book value” of the
business, whereby the liabilities of the business is detracted
from the value of the assets, resulting in the net equity of the
business. There are many forms of business valuations and some
are very costly. Complex business valuations may require expert
opinions. It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney
regarding business concerns.
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