Does your divorce involve real estate and rental properties? If so, here are some important points to consider if these assets exist in your divorce case:
- Obtain clear current copies of your deeds and leases. Provide your divorce attorney
with clear current copies of your deeds, leases, and other legal documents to identify the real estate interests that exist in your case. If a party acquired real estate by gift or inheritance, provide a copy of the will or trust, if these documents exist.
- Consider acquiring appraisals. Real estate is typically valued by a real estate appraiser.
Alternatively, parties can agree to utilize a market analysis or real estate tax bills that value the real estate for tax purposes. While these two methods may not accurately identify the fair market value of the real estate, some divorce litigants choose to use these methods to reduce their costs. If you have commercial real estate or a business in a high-asset divorce, you should carefully consider the benefits of obtaining a real estate appraisal.
- Beware of battle of the experts. If both spouses acquire values for real estate and those
values are significantly different, the court will need to decide whose valuation is correct. Of course spouses can agree to a value, but if there is no agreement, this issue will be submitted to the court for a decision. The court will review the appraisal reports and consider the testimony of the real estate experts. In evaluating the evidence, the court will consider the real estate expert’s experience, credentials, and carefully consider how the valuation was arrived at. Each party will have to pay their respective expert to come to court and testify about the valuations.
If your divorce case involves distribution of real estate or rental properties it is important that you speak with an experienced divorce attorney to understand your rights and the legal process in addressing these assets in divorce.