What date is used to value marital property during equitable distribution of the marital estate? Because the value of some assets fluctuates from time to time, the valuation date of marital property is generally the time of distribution unless the property is no longer in existence. In some instances, a date of separation value may be appropriate, where an asset, such as a business, is in the sole control of one of the parties during the period of separation. A date of separation value does not necessarily require the imposition of prejudgment interest, although such a claim may be asserted. The marital property increase in value of separate property is as of the date of separation or date of distribution, whichever date produces the lesser increase in value. In instances where marital property was disposed of prior to distribution, a pre-distribution valuation date will be employed. The valuation date selected by the courts is intended to effectuate economic justice between the parties. Therefore, a party can suggest a valuation date to the court; however, the party
will have the burden of proof to demonstrate the appropriateness of the proposed valuation date. A valuation date may be upheld even though a different valuation date is more appropriate if no objection is raised at trial. Any party may give opinion testimony as to the value of assets in which the party has an ownership interest because of the presumption of special knowledge derived from ownership. Where evidence offered by one party is uncontradicted, the court may adopt this value, although the resulting valuation would have been different if more accurate and complete evidence had been presented. If the value of an asset is significant, an opinion of the value of the asset from a qualified expert should be obtained.