Missouri Divorce Valuation Expert: The Three Levels of Valuation in a Divorce Proceeding
Many attorneys and business owners want to know about valuation issues regarding divorce in Missouri?
What happens when you own a company and you file divorce papers? Well the first step is to contact an attorney who you trust to handle your case.
Then you need to start gathering data, including prior tax returns for at least the past 5 years, financial statements, bank records, buy-sell agreements and operating agreements just to name a few. You will then start discussing the value of the company with your spouse, preferably through your attorney. If you find out that your view of the value is different than your spouse's view of the value -- then you may need a business valuation expert.
I typically see valuations for divorce have 3 different levels -- the first is calculation phase. This is where the expert reviews all info and determines the value of the business -- which is not a full valuation per se. Just calculations and some financial spreadsheets.
Then you or your divorce attorney may want to initiate discussions again with your spouse with the valuation expert's analysis.
Don't be concerned if your spouse also wants to hire an expert, that is normal. Sometime the attorneys and parties want the experts to discuss the valuations and see if they can come together on one number -- this doesn't happen often because divorces are very emotional.
Then the 2nd level is the report phase. if a settlement cannot be reached and the parties get closer to trial, the experts will then produce reports regarding the calculations. This is to outline the valuation methods used by the expert. These reports are usually submitted to the court and to both attorneys at the same time -- and prior to the court date.
The final phase is expert testimony. After the reports are issued, the attorneys may want to questions the experts in deposition. This is treated like testimony in divorce court. This happens relatively close to the trial date. And then the experts will testify in trial.
One thing to keep in mind -- the experts are truly servants of the court and judge and therefore you should work to find an expert that tells you the truth rather than what you want to hear. If your divorce goes to trial you will want an expert who can support their numbers with data and not just opinions.