Typically, in a divorce scenario one of the major assets the party’s own is real property, which is typically the marital home. An essential part of dividing the assets is determining how to handle this property.
Currently, the real estate market, especially in South Florida, is seeing record highs and low inventory on homes, making it hard to assign a value to the home and making it even harder for the parties to agree on the value of the property.
The Courts use a process called equitable distribution to divide marital property in general. Equitable means fair and not necessarily equal. The Court will determine how to divide the marital property in the fairest manner in each case.
If the property value is contested during divorce, it may be necessary to employ the services of a real estate expert. If you are in the process of a divorce and dividing marital assets, you will want to obtain a third-party home appraisal which can assist in determining the value of the property. Getting appraisals or valuations of real property assets is generally a necessity where the parties cannot stipulate to it..
Professional appraisers and real estate brokers are two examples of such experts. What will the real estate expert’s role be? The expert will likely:
- Examine the marital property for appraisal, including the physical characteristics of the property and its location.
- Investigate and prepare data for similar properties recently sold, including the location and terms of the sale and the characteristics of those properties.
- Contrast those data from the marital property where necessary, such as to account for significant differences in location, conditions, sale terms, economic conditions, and other outliers.
- Determine the value of the marital property according to the expert; and
- Testify as to the value of the marital property during the divorce proceedings.
If your spouse has obtained a competing appraisal, it is important to know the type of approach used to value the property.
If you would like more information about property division in a divorce proceeding contact Juliana Gaita, P.A. for a strategy session.