The court does not have to give equal weight to each of the factors. Thus, it is essential to have a well-prepared, well-delivered argument.
Once there is a determination that an asset is property, that the property has tangible value, and distribution has occurred, the court ceases to have jurisdiction over the matter. That is an additional reason to get property “right” at the time of dissolution.
A court may not consider later liquidation of awarded property as income. The only way a profit which occurs as a result of liquidation may be considered income is if there is a steady stream of income which emanates from the property.
The courts have treated the different types of property interests broadly. The basic tenets are: the interest must already exist and not be a mere expectancy. Thus, a promised inheritance by a living relative would not qualify as property as it is speculative. Conversely, an inheritance from a deceased relative would qualify as property. A vested or unvested pension would qualify as property as would stock options that have been granted but not yet matured. A personal injury award that is decided before dissolution with damages awarded before dissolution would also qualify. A personal injury suit that occurred after dissolution would not.
A party must list all property on his or her financial affidavit. One may not withhold disclosure based upon the belief that the property is non-distributable. Even if the property is not distributable, the mere existence of the property may affect the court’s analysis of whether an agreement or judgment is fair and equitable.
In summation, it is hugely important to engage in an appropriate property analysis prior to the time of the divorce. If experts are needed to ascertain the value, be sure to hire them and disclose their findings long before the time of judgment.