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Don’t skip a business valuation during divorce proceedings

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Divorce

Dividing assets during divorce may turn contentious when a couple owns a business together. Accurately valuing the business becomes crucial to help ensure a fair and equitable settlement. Skipping this step can lead to resentment, and a host of other troubles, down the line.

Business valuation is the process of establishing the economic value of a company. Various methods, such as the asset approach, income approach and market approach, are used to assess the value of a business based on its assets, earnings and market comparables.

Why business valuation matters in divorce

Without an accurate valuation, one spouse could be significantly disadvantaged. The spouse who wasn’t involved in the day-to-day operations may not understand the business’s true worth. Conversely, the spouse running the business might overestimate its value.

Additionally, thorough valuation can provide a neutral and objective assessment. This can foster trust and open communication during divorce settlement negotiations. Moreover, a clear understanding of the business’s value can minimize disputes and expedite the divorce settlement process. This may save time and money and alleviate the emotional strain for both parties.

Decisions made based on an accurate valuation can also help avoid future tax issues arising from the asset division.

Common business valuation methods

Several methods are used to determine a business’s fair market value in a divorce setting.

  • Income approach: Estimates the future earning potential of the business and calculates its present value.
  • Market approach: Compares the enterprise to similar businesses that have recently been sold.
  • Asset-based approach: Values the enterprise based on its tangible and intangible assets. Inventory, equipment, property and intellectual property are all factored in.

The ideal method, or combination of methods used for valuation, will depend on the specific characteristics of the business.

Business valuation during divorce is critical to achieving a fair and amicable settlement when a family business is at stake. By understanding the importance of valuation and the different methods used and seeking personalized legal feedback, individuals can help secure their financial security and protect their rights throughout the divorce process.


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