When the partners choose to end their marriage in divorce, their assets and possessions will be subject to division based on the state's community property laws. Community property is one way that property may be classified as marital or separate, and then split between the partners to an ending marriage. Here, courts attempt to divide marital property evenly.
For example, a couple may own a primary residence and a vacation home. The partners may own together various financial investments, as well as several vehicles, works of art and other items. Accordingly, the the court must know just how much each item is worth to make the division even.
This is where asset valuation comes into play. The parties may elect to have their real property, vehicles and art appraised to assess their appropriate values. They may collect documentation of their investments' values before heading to court, and they may take other steps to ensure that accurate values are assigned to their marital property.
If property is not valued accurately, then the division of property in a community property divorce may be wildly unfair. If, for example, a home or parcel of real property was significantly undervalued by a court and given to one of the parties without proper recompense to the other, the recipient of the parcel may experience a windfall due to the improper valuation of that item of marital property.
When managing high asset divorces individuals should work with lawyers who recognize the importance of getting asset valuations done right. It can mean the difference between a fair split and a windfall.