After a trial, a Probate and Family Law Court entered a divorce judgment (1) valuing the husband’s 25% interest in a Martha’s Vineyard property at 25% of the market value of the property and (2) awarding a present interest in that property to the wife. The Appeals Court reversed.
On the issue of valuation, the appellate court noted that, while there was evidence of the market value of the entire Martha’s Vineyard property, there was no evidence as to the husband’s 25% interest – simply valuing it at 25% of market value was without basis.
Further, since the Court acknowledged that the husband’s interest was unlikely to be sold and unlikely to generate income for him, ordering the husband to make a present payment to his wife for $360,000 is “plainly wrong and excessive.” While the law strongly favors present payments to “if, as, and when” payments, the law also recognizes that where a present division would cause an undue hardship to a party, it is inappropriate. Elliott v. Elliott, 2011 Mass.App.Unpub. LEXIS 992 (September 6, 2011)