10 key takeaways from the 2019 AAML/BVR National Divorce Conference in Las Vegas

Hundreds of family law attorneys and financial experts converged last week in Las Vegas for the first event the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and Business Valuation Resources (BVR) co-sponsored. Attorneys along with valuation, forensics, wealth, and other financial experts co-presented the sessions, which gave invaluable perspectives on the topics.

Here are 10 interesting takeaways from both inside the sessions and the networking events:

  1. For valuation dates right before the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), one way to reflect the impact (if you feel the new law was known or knowable) is in the discount rate, but this must be explained in the report’s narrative;

  2. The TCJA provision that eliminates the alimony deduction does not sunset—and it’s unlikely that it will be resurrected; the IRS was spending way too much time matching up the deductions to the corresponding income;

  3. Cryptocurrency is easy to overlook, so you should specifically ask about it during the discovery process for a divorce case;

  4. Calculation engagements are a “dangerous and treacherous” area, but everyone seemed to agree that they have their place (except in court);

  5. An expert should advocate for his or her opinion, whereas the attorney advocates for the client’s case;

  6. If a valuation analyst chooses an equity risk premium of greater than 7% or lower than 4%, call that expert out because someone may be trying to “rig” the valuation;

  7. Many attorneys underestimate the importance of going through an in-depth examination of an expert’s qualifications in court;

  8. It’s unclear whether federal law preempts state family law in terms of copyright, and different states have different approaches, so know your case law;

  9. Valuing intellectual property is difficult and potentially expensive—and there’s a dearth of case law on how to value it; and

  10. The forensics expert searching for the assets of Stephen Paddock, the Mandalay Bay shooter, says the incident is too fresh for his notoriety to enhance the value of his assets; so far, the expert has found $1.5 million for the victims’ families.

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s conference, be sure to watch for more coverage in BVR’s free weekly ezine, BVWire and in our newsletter, Business Valuation UpdateCongratulations to the conference committee and organizers for a fascinating event. The next divorce conference will be in 2020—if you’re interested in speaking opportunities, joining the planning committee, or sponsoring the event, please contact Jared Waters, training director at BVR.


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