Valuing Degrees & Professional License

The Potential Value Of Academic Degrees, Professional Licenses and Occupational Certificates

Under New York matrimonial law, academic degrees, professional licenses and occupational certificates have potential value as marital property subject to division between divorcing spouses. To learn about the different ways of valuing degrees and professional licenses, and the most effective strategies for protecting your interests on either side of a divorce involving professional credentials, contact a knowledgeable lawyer at Figeroux & Associates in New York.

Working With Experts to Determine the Value of a Professional Career

What’s at stake in the valuation of a professional career is the accurate identification of discounted present value of the enhanced earning stream represented by the degree, license or certificate. Each side will retain one or more experts to express an opinion as to the value over a given period of time; the value selected by the court if the parties cannot agree will provide the basis for a significant portion of the property distribution decree. It’s not hard to see that the valuation of professional credentials in New York divorce cases is a highly imprecise undertaking. Divorcing spouses on either side of the issue are well advised to take a reasonable and measured approach to valuation because it’s difficult to predict how the judge might view the opposing positions as expressed through expert witnesses.

At Figeroux & Associates, our attorney focuses on developing a realistic view of the value of a professional license or degree and presenting the justifying details to the court in clear and understandable terms. Sometimes we need to break through misconceptions about the value of a particular professional credential. Even credentials that open doors to lucrative careers might prove to be overvalued or short-lived. If the value of a particular professional license in the hands of a divorcing spouse has not been clearly established through a long earnings history, it might be a good idea to sidestep the difficulties of valuing it as marital property and deal with it instead in the context of alimony.  Here’s why: If the income stream suddenly dries up or changes significantly in either direction, the maintenance award can always be modified after the divorce is final on the basis of changed circumstances. Property division arrangements are permanent, however, and the holder of an overvalued license or certificate will find it difficult to avoid making payments over time while lacking the means to do so.

Our divorce practice can deal with valuation issues related to law and medical practices, financial services professions, nursing degrees, teaching or counselor’s certificates, and such occupational credentials as the licenses held by barbers, cosmetologists, commercial vehicle operators, and others. For more information about our law firm’s approach to valuation issues in divorces involving professionals, contact Figeroux & Associates in New York.


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