From start to finish there is no question that divorce is expensive. Sometimes it is a juggling act; do you spend the money for the expensive expert or do you agree on a shared one? Or do you skip an expert altogether (which can be dangerous)? The most commonly needed experts, outside of parenting matters, are residential real estate appraisers, business valuation experts, commercial real estate appraisers, defined benefit pension valuation experts, and forensic accountants.
If money is tight – and no matter how much you have, money is tight when you are in the process of divorcing – maybe you can share the costs of a joint expert. This is often a plausible idea for residential real estate because there is a common sense way to reality-check the results. Most folks have a reasonable idea of their residential real estate values, thanks to Zillow.com and your town assessor’s office.
It also makes economic sense to share the cost of the actuary doing the defined benefit pension valuation. There generally will be some form of information from the pension provider which also will provide a good reality check.
But, if it is at all possible, you should … Keep reading
Massachusetts is an equitable division state. This means that all property, whenever and however acquired, may be subject to division as well as utilized for support in a divorce case. If you are an owner or a shareholder in a closely held business and are facing divorce, you need to be braced for the discovery that will soon be headed your way.
The documents which are considered basic and minimal in order to value both the business and determine the owner’s true income with perks, are often some of the most private documents of the business. At least five years of tax returns, audited or unaudited financial statements, buy/sell agreements, offers to sell or buy the business, inventories, insurance policies, customer lists, patents, the list goes on and on. It is a good idea to have either in-house counsel (if you have them), or hire outside counsel, perhaps referred to you by your divorce attorney, so that the proper protections for the business during the litigation can be put in place. At the very least, a confidentiality agreement should be signed and approved by the court before the documents are produced.
Most valuation experts and forensic accountants … Keep reading