Under New York law, property is divided among divorcing spouses and one spouse may be ordered to pay the other maintenance after a divorce. To determine how to make these financial orders, the court needs to know more about the financial assets of the couple. Information about financial assets can also be helpful during a medication or negotiation. If one or both spouses own a business, the accounting can become very complex to the point a business and asset evaluation may be needed.
A business and asset evaluation is prepared by an expert. However, many of the figures can be biased and subject to interpretation. Therefore, it is important to have a lawyer who will look the business asset evaluation carefully. If some assumptions and figures seem off or are biased against their client, a lawyer should object.
Especially for large business, finances can be very complicated. There can be a huge range of ways figures can be calculated. For example, if assessing the value of the business, should you look at how much the business is worth today based on its market value? Based on competitors? Should you look at the average value of the business over the last year? The last two years? Should you look if there were tactics used to hide money such as diverting funds to other corporations? A lawyer should be aware of the tricks that can be used and watch for them.
Even if the other side isn't playing dirty, they can still reach conclusions that may not be favorable to you.
The business may have been set up to make income appear low for tax purposes. The accountants may provide figures of earnings in good faith thinking that these are the figure they use regularly. However, a client who wants to show the business is of higher value might challenge the approach used to make these financial calculations.
In another example, standard practice may be to consider the value of a business as being three times the size of its annual sales. This approximation may not be valid for the type of business being evaluated. It may also not properly reflect the current economic climate.
To protect your financial interests, it is important to have a experienced and aggressive lawyer on your side. How can an experienced lawyer help you optimize your divorce strategy when it comes to business and asset evaluations?
First, an experienced lawyer knows what experts to recommend. There are many experts who can conduct business and asset evaluations. Your lawyer should know which ones are reputable and will find the information you need to know.
Also, an experienced lawyer knows what questions to ask in the event the business and asset evaluation is not favorable to your interests.
Finally, an experienced lawyer can communicate the results of the business asset evaluation to you without jargon. This can be very helpful to understand where you stand in your case.
When it comes to business asset division and business and asset evaluations, be sure you obtain the services of a business division lawyer. The critical part is obtaining the services of a lawyer that can actually understand and evaluate that report.