Under the California family code, assets including such things as pension plans, 401(k)’s, and business interests are valued as near as practicable to the date of trial. However, in some circumstances it may be advantageous for a party to request that the date of valuation be modified due to special circumstances that would support an earlier valuation date.
Reasons for Requesting an Alternative Valuation Date
For example, if you are a business owner and your business primarily relies on your personal efforts and goodwill, then it’s possible to argue that your business should be valued as of the date of separation as opposed to the date of the trial.
In some circumstances, especially where significant time has elapsed since your separation, there may be significant advantages to asking the court for an alternative valuation date.
When to Have an Alternative Valuation Date
The best way to determine the advantage of an alternate valuation date in your case is to bring up this issue early on in your divorce case. Discuss the possibility of filing a motion for an alternative valuation date with your California divorce lawyer and your forensic accountant.
Your lawyer should be aware of the case law and factors that the court will consider in deciding this type of request. Your forensic accountant should be able to tell you whether it’s advantageous to value your business or professional practice (such as a law firm or an accounting firm or medical corporation) as of the date of separation, as opposed to the date of trial.