Timing of Property Valuation in MA Divorce Cases
AT WHAT POINT IN TIME IS PROPERTY IN A DIVORCE CASE VALUED?
Many litigants going through divorce ask the question, “When are assets in a Massachusetts divorce case valued?” Of course, the court is obligated to assign property to each party during a divorce case. State law throughout the country varies on this issue. Some states assign property to one spouse based on the value as of the date the parties’ separated from each other. Some states value property as of the date the divorce case is filed. In other states, property is valued at the time of trial.
There is no set date of valuation rule in Massachusetts. The court is allowed wide discretion to determine what date assets should be valued based on the specific facts of a case and the assets involved. In many cases, assets may fluctuate significantly between the date of separation and the date of trial. In fact, the Court of Appeals has indicated specifically that M.G.L.A. c. 208, § 34 does not set any hard rule for the date of valuation and the Court prefers to ensure that trial court judges are given discretion to determine a valuation date for property differently for different cases.
The court may even value different assets in one divorce case as of different dates.
When there is a long separation period before a divorce trial, courts have held that it is not error to value an asset at the date of separation because only one spouse contributed to the asset’s increase in value after the date of separation.
For additional information about the date of valuation of assets at divorce and the divorce process in general, contact our office today.
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