Heidi E. Opinsky

The Law Offices of Heidi E. Opinsky, LLC

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203-653-3542 hopinsky@opinskylaw.com

Attorney for Business Valuations

Evaluating Assets In Greenwich, Stamford, Westport And New York City

When a moderate to high net worth couple begins the process of getting a divorce, there are many things that need to be done that would not otherwise occur in divorce cases with fewer assets. These couples often have accumulated wealth in the form of closely held and family-owned businesses, partnerships, limited partnerships, stock options, restricted stock units, investment accounts, real estate, pension and
retirement accounts, bonus and executive compensation plans and benefits, antiques, artwork, collections as well as jewelry. Moreover, there often are business interests intertwined with the assets of the couple and these business interests need to be included in the
distribution of property.One of the first things that is done after a couple decides to file for divorce is the identification of the marital estate, where the individuals assert which property was separate and which is subject to distribution. Connecticut and New York both use equitable distribution for the allocation of property and assets, which does not mean equal division, although that is frequently the case when the assets and property are accumulated by the parties’ joint efforts during the marriage. Connecticut does not recognize separate property, as in New York, which separate property includes:

  • Property that was wholly owned by one party prior to the marriage
  • Property that was inherited by one party
  • Property that was gifted to one party
  • Property that was specifically excluded from the marital estate in a
    prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

Although Connecticut does not treat separate property in the same way, the manner in which the property was brought into the marriage will play a role in how the property is distributed fairly. All other property, including business or corporate assets, that was attained or grown (appreciated) during the course of the marriage is considered part of the marital estate and subject to distribution.

Frequently, when there are business interests that predated the marriage, it will be important to treat such assets as the subject of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. When the parties have not taken this proactive step, the parties’ interests in the property and asset will need to be established. The value of the business or business property acquired during a marriage is deemed to be marital property subject to equitable distribution in Connecticut and New York. The nature of the business interests at issue can vary widely and might include:

  • A professional practice including medical, legal or accounting practices
  • A closely held family business
  • A small business
  • A restaurant
  • A retail establishment

There are many factors that are part of the analysis of whether the business is marital property entirely, or if there is some portion that is separate property and some percentage that does qualify for equitable distribution.

The valuation of a business is conducted by financial experts, usually a forensic accountant, business evaluator and tax expert, who have extensive knowledge of the industry in which the business operates as well as current market conditions that impact the value of the business and its assets, as well as determining any hidden assets or the true income of a party. The valuation, whether in New York or Connecticut, typically considers:

  • The physical assets of the business, including real property, equipment and product inventory (if applicable)
  • The nature of the business and its potential for continued success
  • Stock
  • The goodwill of the business
  • Accounts receivable
  • The debts and liabilities of the business.

In addition to an operating business — a professional partnership, a partnership interest in a hedge fund, limited partnerships, stock options, restricted stock units, investment accounts, real estate, pension and retirement accounts, bonus and executive compensation plans and benefits, antiques, artwork, collections, as well as jewelry — all need to be valued by a team of experts (accountant, real estate appraiser, actuary, tax advisor) who regularly work with attorney Heidi E. Opinsky and her team of divorce lawyers, to develop an appropriate strategy and plan to preserve your assets or to obtain an appropriate division and allocation of said assets and property interests. The team of legal and expert professionals will provide you with an optimum plan for division of these assets, or testimony in court when settlement or resolution is not possible.

When a court is dealing with business interests and assets as part of its role to equitably divide assets, it will look at the contributions of the spouses to the attainment of these business interests and assets through direct financial contributions, or as a contributing and devoted spouse and parent. The firm will address significant complex issues such as stock ownership and the structure and ownership of the business interests and the tax consequences of any buyout or sale of assets. The firm will appropriately consider double-dipping issues as when one spouse pays support from the same assets and property which are the subject of division.

Heidi E. Opinsky Understands The Complexities Of High Net Worth Divorces

When a high net worth couple is going through a divorce, it is critical for a person’s attorney to appreciate the magnitude of the assets at issue and to ensure that the client receives his or her rightful share of marital property. Connecticut and New York divorce lawyer
Heidi E. Opinsky and her highly skilled team of legal professionals represent moderate to high net worth individuals in dissolution of marriage proceedings, so she understands the innumerable details that must be scrutinized.

Highly Seasoned Divorce And Family Law Attorney Serving Connecticut And New York

Any divorce involving business interests entwined with the assets of the couple going through a divorce will require a skilled and business-savvy attorney to obtain the right results for her client. Attorneys at the divorce firm of Heidi E. Opinsky has the experience and knowledge to accomplish this goal.
Contact her today at 203-653-3542 to schedule a confidential consultation and discuss how she can help you.