Many previous blogs have examined the child custody and support aspects of family law and divorce, as these issues are often paramount in domestic proceedings. However, property division and valuing property for division are also contentious and important issues in most divorce proceedings.
Indiana statutes provide for equal division of assets and liabilities in a divorce.1 This presumption of equal division can be deviated from if a party presents relevant evidence that an equal division would not be just and reasonable.2 Some types of evidence to show equal division would not be just and reasonable include evidence regarding property acquired through inheritance or gift, the conduct of the parties during the marriage as it relates to disposition or dissipation of the property, and the earnings or earning ability of the parties.3
In order to even begin to divide property and liabilities, however, the value of all property must be calculated. Sometimes, this can be agreed upon by the parties. For example, the parties agree that a T.V. and a couch have roughly the same value, so Wife takes the T.V. and Husband takes the Couch, a 50/50 split.
In more difficult cases, valuation by a professional may be required. A professional can come to the home of the parties and valuate household goods and items, a car can be valued by a dealer, or a house could be valued by a realtor. Both parties will likely have their own valuators, who can argue the value to be divided in mediation or Court.
A business valuation is a specific valuation that is especially helpful when one or both parties in a divorce owns or has an interest in a business. This valuation can be done by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and is valued as of a specific date, usually, the date of filing for divorce.
The valuation can be based on many standards, including fair market value, fair value, investment value, or intrinsic value. Speaking with a valuator regarding your information and position in the business can help determine what standard of valuation is most appropriate to your case.
Personal and enterprise goodwill can also be valued. For example, if Wife owns a small services business, it is likely that she is a key person in that business and customers utilize the business because Wife works there. This can be valued and calculated by a valuator to determine information for property division.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in examining the basics of property division and business valuation. Utilizing experts and persons to assist you in determining property value can help when same is divided either through agreement or by the Court. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.
- See Ind. Code §31-15-7-5