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Valuation of Property at Divorce in Massachusetts

HOW IS PROPERTY IN A DIVORCE CASE VALUED?

In all divorce cases, the court must ascertain the property that is assignable and divisible.  This includes all property owned by either party or that either party has an interest in at the time of the divorce.  It may also include property transferred by a party to someone else in the anticipation of divorce.  The trial court must also determine an appropriate value to place on the property.  The question many family law litigants ask is how does the court come up with the valuations on property?

There are many ways the court may determine what value to place on assets (and debts for that matter) in a divorce case.  First, the parties may agree, or stipulate to the value of a certain assets or assets.  The parties are free to reach any agreements they wish as to the value of their property in order to resolve their case.

Second, the court will ultimately hold a trial to divide and assign assets in a divorce matter.  In these instances, the parties must submit evidence to support their contentions regarding values of property.  Evidence can be in the form of written appraisals, expert testimony, or the parties testifying to the value.  The court can also review certain relevant documentation, such as financing agreements or applications and tax returns.

Third, the court can take judicial notice of certain “well known” facts, such as the value of real estate increased or declined during a certain period of time, the national stock markets increased or declined during a period of time, and so forth.

Fourth, other witnesses that may provide credible evidence as to the value of something, such as the value of a small business, may testify as to the value.  For example, a chief financial officer may testify to the value of the business for which that witness is an officer and employee.

For additional information about valuation of assets at divorce and the divorce process in general, contact our office today.

Our firm serves Boston as well as all courts in Bristol County, including the New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton courthouses.  We also serve all courts in Plymouth County including the Family and Probate Courthouses in Plymouth and Brockton.



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