Splitting up the marital assets can be one of the most complicated aspects of divorce, especially if some of those assets have an unclear value.
At some point, a valuation will need to be performed on those assets — but you need to time the process carefully. The monetary value of your assets (and, therefore, the size of your settlement) may be significantly affected by when the valuation happens.
When do valuations have to occur in New York?
New York law requires all property appraisals to occur between the time in which a spouse initiates divorce proceedings and the trial date.
The value of your property may vary depending on a number of different factors. A potential downturn in the market, for example, may motivate you to have the valuation performed soon after you file for divorce. What appears to be temporary market volatility may lead you to delay the appraisal of passive assets such as vacant land or an investment portfolio as long as you can.
You may want to have an appraisal performed soon after filing your divorce papers to establish an inventory of your marital assets. Any property that you acquire after legally separating will count as sole assets instead of joint ones.
It’s also crucial that you have your most valuable assets, such as a business or marital home, assessed soon after you two file for divorce. You’ll want the value of these possessions before your spouse makes any potential money-draining modifications to your marital home or before they sell off ownership rights in a business.
What you should do if you’re facing a divorce
Don’t wait until your spouse serves you with divorce papers to address property division. Your spouse may have already sold off some of the most valuable assets, or they may have depreciated by then.
Consult with a divorce attorney who understands what may be at stake with your assets before you’re planning to file or if you sense that your spouse is about to do so. Your Williamsville lawyer can advise you on when it’s right for you to stake a claim to the most valuable assets you share with your spouse.