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Divorce and your house: the question of valuation

The real estate crisis of a few years ago continues to influence divorce decisions, particularly regarding property division. Before the crisis hit, it was often not that difficult for one of the partners to move out of the family home and get another house almost right away. Or the house could be sold fairly easily and the proceeds divided among the spouses.

Now, of course, this had changed radically. In Georgia and across the country, the family home is frequently more of a burden than a blessing when it comes to property values. Many couples face underwater mortgages that significantly complicate their plans for ending the financial portion of their partnership in a divorce settlement.

If you are considering beginning the divorce process, however, there are actions you can take to protect your interests and bring your goals into focus. Regarding your house, a basic first step would be to get an appraisal.

To be sure, this will probably cost several hundred dollars when done by a licensed appraiser. But it is likely to be money well spent. When dealing with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, an accurate appraisal helps bring clarity to the situation. This is particularly true if you and your ex do not agree on the value of the property.

Keep in mind that there is also an alternative valuation method called comparative market analysis (CMA). This can sometimes be done by realtors for virtually no cost. It may not be as accurate as an appraisal. But it will give you a ballpark sense of where you stand.

Source: "Three Ways To Value Your Home In A Divorce," The Huffington Post, Joseph E.Cordell, 3-1-13

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post in Georgia. To learn more about our practice, please visit our main property division page.

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