When a couple makes the decision to pursue a divorce or dissolution of marriage, they may need to address how to equitably divide their shared property or business. A crucial part of arriving at a fair division of assets and property is to assess the worth of these real estate properties or businesses. However, the logistical challenges and economic instability caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have made the valuation and appraisal process much more difficult to navigate. It’s worth exploring the various effects that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the valuation process so that you can better understand your options and adjust your expectations accordingly.
Real Estate Difficulties
Under normal circumstances, the divorcing couple would decide how to equitably divide their shared real estate property, including the family home and any vacation homes they may have shared. In many cases, one spouse would “buy” the other spouse out, with either a one-time financial transaction or over the course of several years. The price of the home was determined by hiring an appraiser or examining the local real estate market. However, as the real estate market has cooled considerably over the last few months, more divorcing couples are seeking alternative solutions until the market rises again. The spouse who is planning to keep the house may allow the other spouse to continue to reside in the home until the market recovers, or perhaps the couple agrees to postpone the final division of assets for several more months.
Dividing the Family Business During a Divorce
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own a business together, you must decide what to do about the business when you divorce. In the wake of COVID-19, many family-owned businesses have struggled or have shuttered for good. Separating couples worry that if one person tries to buy out the other, the pricing will not be fair. It’s nearly impossible to predict whether a struggling business will be able to bounce back once the threat of the virus subsides. Right now, business appraisers are recommending that both spouses continue to operate the business after the divorce is finalized in order to determine whether it will be financially viable in the future. Alternatively, the spouse who sells the business may only ask the other spouse for partial payment at first, then the remaining payments will be made over time to account for how the business performs in the upcoming months and years.
Exploring Your Options
The divorce process can be challenging, even under the smoothest of circumstances. In this unprecedented time, the dedicated family law attorneys at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC are here to answer your questions and help you achieve a fair and peaceful outcome. Call our West Chester office today at (513) 863-6600 to speak to a knowledgeable divorce and dissolution of marriage lawyer.