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Why is the valuation date of marital assets important?

When couples with significant assets split up, those assets must be professionally valuated in order to accurately divide the community property from the marriage. Assigning the proper dollar amount to each marital asset requires that the valuation date for each is correctly identified.

Why are valuation dates important?

The value of assets is frequently in flux due to circumstances beyond the control of either spouse in the divorce action. Some values are market-driven, as in the case of some real estate and stock certificates.

The above examples are passive assets, as the actions of neither spouse affects the value. However, active assets like businesses and occupied properties can be very much affected by actions or inaction on the part of either spouse.

As is easily imagined, if one spouse wanted the value of a business to be negligible, he or she could diminish its value by dropping clients or changing the hours of operation. Likewise, a spouse could manipulate the value of a home by removing amenities or painting the rooms in garish colors that make it harder to sell.

What is the valuation date for Arizona divorces?

Further complicating the appraisal issue is that each state specifies when the valuation of the marital property is set. Some couples live apart for months or even years without ever filing for divorce. Here in Arizona, the preferred valuation date is the day that the petition for divorce was filed. If you are the spouse petitioning the court, you can use this to your advantage when choosing when to file.

By working closely with your Maricopa County family law attorney, you can decide on the best time to file for divorce from your spouse in order to get the most value from your marital assets.

Source: Forbes, "How the Valuation Dates of Different Assets Are Decided During Divorce," Jeff Landers, accessed Oct. 06, 2017

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