OWNING A BUSINESS DURING A DIVORCE
IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE AN EXPERT DETERMINE THE BASELINE VALUE Of A SEPARATE PROPERTY BUSINESS, IF A PARTY IS SEEKING A PORTION OF THE APPRECIATION OF VALUE OF THE ASSETS OF THE OTHER PARTY IN A DIVORCE
Divorce Lawyer Nassau County NY
H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 32 years of experience suggests that a litigant must be careful to select the right seasoned and experienced matrimonial lawyer to try his or her divorce case.
In a recent case determined by the Appellate Division, 2st Department in New York, the Appellate Court reversed the trial judge’s award of $91,500 or 25% of the husband’s dental practice. The Appellate Division found that the wife was not entitled to a share of the value of the practice as she failed to meet her burden of proof. Apparently, the husband in the case had been operating his dental practice at the time of the marriage. A dental practice has been previously determined to be “property” in earlier judicial precedent in New York. The dental practice was classified as “separate property”, as it was acquired prior to the marriage. If appropriate proof is submitted to the Court, the Court has the power to reclassify the growth and appreciation in value of “separate property” as “marital property” (which is subject to equitable distribution). In this case, proof of the date of marriage value, or baseline value, was not provided to the trial Court. Accordingly, the trial Court could not know how much the property grew in value, since it did not know the value of the asset at the time of the marriage. Thus, the reversal of the award was proper under existing law. This law is not new, so it is puzzling to me as to why the proof was not supplied to the trial Court.
Thus, in my opinion it is absolutely critical to hire a seasoned and experienced matrimonial lawyer, with a record of success, to make sure assets are properly appraised and valued for equitable distribution purposes. The valuation of business assets is required in all cases where equitable distribution is sought. It is the responsibility (and “burden of proof”) of the non-titled party to prove the value of business assets. As an experienced matrimonial attorney, I know the ways to ensure that it the process is completed before a case is marked ready for trial by the Court.
I have been trying divorce cases and Family Court hearings since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 30 years.
I offer a free initial consultation. Please contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq., a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your property & asset division, matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 516-747-2290.
My office is conveniently located at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.
Written by: H. Michael Stern, Divorce & Family Lawyer in Garden City, NY