Divorce Appraisals

Marital dissolution and the division of marital assets is a very challenging and often upsetting experience. Finalizing a divorce involves many important decisions and the resulting changes such as "Who gets the house" and What is it worth"? There are generally two options regarding the marital home - it can be sold and the proceeds appropriately divided between the parties - one party can "buy out" the other and become an individual owner.  In either case, one or both parties will likely be advised to obtain one or two appraisals of the marital home by a certified real estate appraiser. This can quickly become an additional divorce complication as there are instances when the competency of two different appraisers could result in two very different opinions of the value of the marital home.

If a compromise is not possible between the disputing soon-to-be-ex spouses, the matter will go to a hearing and trial and the court will decide which of the two opinions is the most credible (worthy of belief).  It is very important to know that real estate agents (Realtors) do not provide appraisals unless they are licensed or certified by an appraisal licensing jurisdiction to represent them-self as a real estate appraiser. Therefore, their scope of license allows them to offer a price opinion which is not the same as a certified market value opinion. Terms like market price and market value opinion are very different economic concepts and the court will require a certified appraisal with a report containing a market value opinion (sometimes called a fair market value opinion).   

Divorce appraisals require a well supported, professional appraisal that is defensible and for a very good reason. Should the marital dispute escalate and become unreasonable, the matter involving the division of shared assets is likely to go to trial. In such a situation, the credibility of an appraisal report and the testimony services of an expert witness associated with each appraisal may be necessary. The cost to testify will be an additional cost to the litigants and is not related to legal representation costs. If testimony is necessary, the court will settle the matter based on their opinion as to which of the two different appraisal opinions is the most credible (unbiased, well supported and worthy of belief). 

When you order an appraisal from me, you are assured that you will get the best in professional service, courtesy and due diligence quality. I also know how to handle the sensitivity of a divorce matter; regardless of which spouse is in need of a market value appraisal. I am committed to a high standard of independent professional practice and to remaining impartial and objective to assure public trust in the appraisal services I provide. For that reason, there are times when I must decline involvement in a divorce because of professional conflict.

Attorneys and Accountants often rely on certified opinions when considering real property values. I understand their needs and am accustomed to dealing with all parties involved in many varied circumstances. I provide appraisal reports that meet the requirements of the courts and various other entities. As an attorney advising your client in a divorce, your needs oftentimes include an appraisal to establish fair market value for the residential real property involved. Often the effective date of the appraisal differs from the actual date you engage the appraisal service. I am familiar with the procedures and requirements necessary to perform a current or retrospective appraisal. The Ethics Rule of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) binds me to remain independent, impartial and objective and to protect confidentiality, thereby ensuring public trust in professional appraisal practice. I acknowledge that legal counsel are advocates for the cause and interests of their clients, however, as an Appraiser, I am prohibited from the practice of advocacy as that would create bias and breach public trust in my conduct.