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Does the Dow Affect the “Marital Pot”?

by Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | Dec 6, 2020 |

The value of Dow or S&P 500 on the date of Complaint, or any other date the divorcing couple chose as the end date of the marriage, could have an impact on the division of the marital assets.

If your retirement account and/or your joint or individual brokerage account(s) are invested in funds or the individual stocks included in the Dow or the S&P 500 or other stock market indices, your portfolio value rises or falls as that stock market index rises and falls. If you decide that those accounts will be divided in kind, then the impact of the rise and fall is shared by both parties and, even if significant, would still be fair.

But if you want to trade assets, e.g. one party wants to keep the house and the other wants to keep the brokerage or retirement account, the value of the house and/or the brokerage/retirement accounts could have risen or fallen significantly by the time the division occurs. If, for example, the Husband wishes to retain his retirement account and the Wife wishes to retain the marital home, even adjusted for pre and post-tax values, one party could find that what he or she chose to keep or give up has less value or greater value on the date of distribution than it had on the date of valuation.

The decision on how to divide the “marital pot” requires analysis beyond “what is the value on the date of the end of the marriage” and “what percentage does each party receive.”

If you are not sure what is best for you for how to value and allocate your marital assets, our experienced team of matrimonial lawyers will be happy to help you analyze your options.