Valuing Marital Property

During equitable distribution and the settlement of a divorce, one of the most important things that our Pittsburgh divorce lawyers do is the valuation of marital assets and debts. Some of the ways that we do this is by asking our clients to provide us with account statements for any bank accounts, tax returns, mortgage and loan statements, and Quarterly Reports for any retirement plans or IRA’s.

Valuation of less tangible things, such as the value of a business, may be more difficult and complex. In those situations, after discussion with your Allegheny County divorce attorney, you may choose to retain a forensic accountant with specific expertise in valuation of intangible assets.

Take, for example, the case of Francesco Aquilini, one of the co-owners of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. He and his wife Tali’ah divorced, and part of their divorce settlement included the value of his ownership interest in the Canucks, one of the most profitable teams in the NHL. In order to value the team, they considered factors such as the generation of revenue, the market for hockey in Vancouver, and the lack of competition from other sports teams. The value of the hockey arena was also included in the settlement, which they chose to value based on the value of the land on which the arena sits.

Once we have these values, we calculate the balances as of the opening of the account/ date of marriage and the date of separation. Any account, retirement plan, or property that was opened or obtained during the marriage is generally marital property, unless it is specifically excluded by a premarital agreement, received as a gift or inheritance, or in certain other situations. If it was received as a gift or by inheritance, then it may still be marital property if it was transmuted into marital property, by deliberately jointly titling or putting both names on the account. Even if something was owned before marriage, then the increase in value between the date of marriage and the date of separation may be counted as marital property.

Equitable distribution, and settlement of the marital estate, can be complex regardless of whether your assets include a hockey team, or season tickets. Contact our experienced Pittsburgh divorce attorneys today to discuss how we can help you with your case!

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