Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

How the family home is valuated in a divorce

The family residence is the largest shared asset for many Virginia couples, particular those with high net worth. Selling off the house is an easy way to get a fair value for divorce purposes, but what if one spouse intends to keep the property? According to the Huffington Post, obtaining a current property value is a critical step in divorce proceedings involving real estate.

One way to do that is to calculate a comparable price for the home. Known as a comparative market analysis, couples should understand that the condition of the family home is not used as part of the evaluation process. Therefore, this method may not be completely accurate, despite the fact that it costs less money. The analysis is done by looking at homes in the same area that have been sold or are still on the market, and can usually be performed by a realtor.

Another method is to have a licensed appraiser evaluate the home and assign it a monetary value. Using an appraiser provides people with solid evidence concerning the true value of the home, since it is considered the most reliable method. With an appraisal, people can make sure that they are not getting shortchanged when it comes to equity if they letting the other spouse buy them out. It can also prevent overpayment for people who are planning to keep the home,  

It is also important for people to understand the role that the date of valuation plays, Forbes states. Once the valuation date is determined, couples should understand that it will not matter if the marital assets climb or decrease in value after that date. This means if the housing market goes up between the valuation date and the date of the divorce decree, one spouse cannot use it to renegotiate the divorce settlement. The valuation date may be the date that the couple filed for divorce, for legal separation or the date of the trial depending on state laws.

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