Pennsylvania divorce cases that involve the process of equitable distribution often require the use of an expert to allow each party to present "valuations"-or to put a number value on certain assets. An "expert" under Pennsylvania law is defined as a person with "reasonable pretense of specialized knowledge on the subject under investigation." To learn more about experts and when they can and should be used in a Pittsburgh divorce case, keep reading today's blog.
There are certain kinds of situations in which use of an expert is recommended. This is especially true with regards to placing value on certain assets during the process of equitable distribution. You need to keep in mind, however, that the weight of expert testimony, meaning how heavily they are going to rely on this individual's opinion, in a family law matter is determined by the Court.
The type of assets that need an expert valuation:
- Business valuations: Much of the value of the business does not come directly from "hard assets" such as equipment and inventory, but rather from other areas. An expert is often used to value a business in a divorce case, as this is often a major point of contention when one party owns his/her own business.
- Vocational Experts: These experts are used to determine a person's employability if they are not employed, or their probable earnings. This valuation is often utilized inPennsylvania alimony or support cases.
- Real Estate: Real Estate experts are very common, as they are needed to determine fair market value and/or fair rental value of your Pennsylvania real estate in your divorce matter.
- Defined Benefit Pensions/IRA's/401(k)'s: Experts are often needed for Defined Benefit Pension Plans, as they must be reduced to their present value. However, the parties may stipulate as to the payments, and therefore, an expert would not be necessary. With IRA's and 401(k)'s, an expert may be needed to determine the tax consequences of withdrawals.
Other areas where experts may be needed:
- Stock Options
Our Pittsburgh divorce attorneys have a network of experienced experts to employ in your family law matter. Depending on the assets in your case, we are able to utilize a number of experts to ensure that you your assets will be valued fairly. Contact us today if you have questions about the use of experts in family law matters.