“We Need A Buyout Of The Family Home: When Is The Value Calculated?”

Houses are generally valued at the time of trial or settlement, unless there is a strong reason to value them at a different time. So, for instance, if the housing market is RISING, the party whose interest is being bought out will benefit from a later settlement, while the party paying the buyout will benefit from resolving that issue with a buyout or appraisal as soon as possible.

The Family Code Section which applies in these cases is §2552, which reads as follows:

(a) For the purpose of division of the community estate upon dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, except as provided in subdivision (b), the court shall value the assets and liabilities as near as practicable to the time of trial.
(b) Upon 30 days’ notice by the moving party to the other party, the court for good cause shown may value all or any portion of the assets and liabilities at a date after separation and before trial to accomplish an equal division of the community estate of the parties in an equitable manner.

Reasons for an earlier valuation would include if one party made major upgrades to the home after separation or other factors making valuation at time of trial inequitable. This also applies to businesses, and the most common reason for valuation at an earlier date is when the party in control of the business is intentionally lowering the value of the business to reduce their spouse’s interest.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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