Featured News 2018 Why a Home Appraisal Is Vital for a Fair Divorce

Why a Home Appraisal Is Vital for a Fair Divorce

Most U.S. family courts use a system that demands the equitable distribution of property in divorce cases. This allows spouses to leave the marriage fairly compensated for their contribution. For equitable distribution states, the courts are required to divide all assets, monies, and liabilities in a way that is fair.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean that the equitable distribution will be "equal." While some divorces require a 50/50 split, other divorce agreements will divide the assets in a way that addresses each spouse's contribution, including wealth prior to marriage. However, the court will also attempt to address what each spouse would need to maintain their lifestyles.

For instance, a spouse with less income and fewer economic resources will more than likely get more assets in the divorce. Some property is not considered marital property, such as an inheritance or a gift that one spouse receives. This property will be exempt from distribution and be given to whichever spouse received the property.

Why Getting an Updated Home Appraisal Is Crucial

It is important that individuals request an appraisal if they plan to factor the marital home into their property distribution. In most divorce cases, real estate is the largest asset that a couple owns. Without a proper appraisal, the real estate may not be fairly factored into the property division. Appraisers can also uncover ownership and reveal any liens on the property. The property will be divided according to the fair market value at the date of the divorce.

Once fair market value is defined, the court can accurately divide up the marriage property with an up-to-date home value. If one spouse wants to buy out the other's half of the home, the transaction will be fair to the both of them.

How Appraisal Works

The appraisal process starts with the appraiser's property visit. During this visit, the professional appraiser will ask the homeowner about the property, any issues with the property, and any special circumstances. The appraiser will take measurements, check for updates to the home, and look for features or conditions of the home that could affect its value. He or she will consider any additions or added features, such as a swimming pool or cellar that an individual may have added.

After the visit, the appraiser will use a template to compare the property with similar properties in the same neighborhood that have sold within the past six months. He or she will determine how the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, the view, the general condition of the home and other factors affect the value of the home.

The appraisers will then make a definitive valuation of property, which will be used to help individuals divide their property fairly in a divorce.

If you want more information about appraisals and how one may help in your divorce, don't hesitate to contact a local family law attorney today!

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