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An independent marital estate valuation may be worth millions

For divorcing spouses that did not play an active role in their partner’s business or financial ventures, a recent article reminds readers of the importance of retaining an experienced divorce attorney.

The woman’s former husband, a commodities trader, had offered a bonus to each spouse’s attorney if the divorce proceeding could be expedited. The former husband claimed that he wanted to spare the couple’s three children from the potential pain of an extracted divorce.

At the time, the husband’s offer seemed reasonable. However, the rushed approach may have resulted in an accurate valuation of the husband’s majority interest share in a biofuel company called Eco-Energy. In the interest of time, the woman did not request an independent valuation. She simply accepted the assessment prepared by a recent law school graduate that the husband’s attorney had selected for the task.

It turns out that the timing may have been intentional. Within a year of the divorce, the husband sold his majority share in the company for a reported $100 million. That’s quite a bit more money than the $15 million valuation returned by the young law school graduate, or the $6.8 share of that estimation that was given to the former wife in the divorce.

An experienced divorce attorney might always request independent valuations of businesses or securities controlled by the other spouse. Assets accumulated during a marriage a typically considered part of the marital estate. As a result, a spouse may generally claim half of the marital estate, pursuant to Michigan’s equitable approach to marital asset division.

Source: tennessean.com, “Williamson woman says ex sped up divorce, then sold $100M company,” Bobby Allyn, July 31, 2013

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An independent marital estate valuation may be worth millions | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC