During the division of your marital estate, you need to make sure that the value of all your assets is carefully estimated. The date upon which a particular asset gets valued is referred to as the valuation date. The process of choosing valuation dates for your assets can be somewhat complicated.

Depending on the moment an asset is valued, its value could change significantly. For the spouse who plans to keep the asset, he or she will probably want it evaluated at the lowest possible level. Meanwhile, the spouse who will get financially compensated for the asset will probably want it valued higher.

Here’s an example of how a valuation date can alter your financial situation considerably. Imagine you and your husband owned a penny stock when you decided to get a divorce. Since then, the penny stock investment has increased in value a hundredfold. It was worth $5,000 and now it’s worth $500,000. The fantastic climb in value means that the valuation date will have a significant effect on your financial situation. It’s entirely possible that you and your soon-to-be-ex may have some disagreements over the valuation date of this property if one of you plans to keep it.

In New York, the law says that courts have to choose the valuation date for assets as quickly as it can following the beginning of divorce proceedings. Since the selection of your property valuation date can change how much money you have the right to keep or receive as a part of your asset division process, it’s important to discuss with an experienced New York divorce attorney when the most advantageous valuation date for you would be.

Source: Forbes, “How the Valuation Dates of Different Assets Are Decided During Divorce,” Jeff Landers, accessed June 23, 2017