Seniority

In Boyd v. Boyd, 116 Mich App 774 (1982) it was argued that "job seniority" was an asset that should be valued. The court of appeals denied the claim. The opinion states that "Job seniority is only useful so long as the worker remains on the company payroll. Substantial seniority generally insulates one from layoffs and may provide preferential treatment in respect to opportunities for overtime. Seniority does not improve oneís basic capacity to earn." Id at 785. There has been no reported litigation on point since Boyd.

Does Boyd make sense? I would say "yes" even though the notion "it does not improve oneís capacity to earn" seems a little thin, even in relation to the conceptís distinction from a medical degree. "Good looks" improve oneís capacity to earn, but I doubt if these are divisible. Assets that have no bearing on the capacity to earn are divisible. (Pick a thousand). Boyd also stresses that seniority is distinct from an advanced degree "which are valuable only within the context in which they are earned" but this seems an even more extraneous distinction where any degree is only valuable within such "a context", the practice of that profession.

I agree with Boyd. But I think I would stress that in valuing assets you have to draw some lines and, ultimately, some of these lines are going to look arbitrary. This just seems a rational place to draw a line. Second, I think I would stress that any time that valuing an asset (seniority, good looks, intelligence) seems pretty ethereal, maybe it is an "asset" that should not be valued at all. See Ross, Degrees In Property Division, 1990 Michigan Family Law Journal 13-19 (February Volume).