Often, business-valuation issues arising in the context of divorce relate to closely held or small family-operated business. The decision to employ an expert to value the business is a significant and frequently necessary step. Generally, experts must meet two basic qualifications:
- the subject matter about which they will testify must be that of which ordinary, reasonable people do not have common knowledge, and
- the expert must be, in fact, an expert — that is, have the qualifications necessary to be considered an expert. A variety of credentials are available for those who meet the qualifications required to value businesses. Several of the more widely recognized designations include: Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), Certified Business Appraiser (CBA), and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA).
Many resources to find an expert exist, including the Internet, appraisal societies, the business valuation community, the American Bar Association Family Law Section, and other professional groups. Questions to ask a potential valuator include: Does the appraiser hold professional designations required in the field? How many years of experience does the appraiser have? How many reports has the appraiser prepared? Does the appraiser have experience in the specific industry? Does the appraiser have litigation experience? What fees and costs may be reasonably expected?
Jeffrey W. Brend is a CPA and family-law attorney practicing with Chicago law firm Levin & Brend, P.C. He is the only person in the country affiliated with both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the American Society of Appraisers.