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How do you determine a fair way to divide your marital home?

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2022 | Divorce |

Property division is frequently a stressful challenge for Connecticut couples anticipating a divorce. The more valuable certain assets are and the more emotional worth they have for you, the more likely you are to have a disagreement with your spouse about the right way to handle that property.

Your marital home likely represents years of financial investment from both of you, as well as practical work in the form of repairs and maintenance. There can also be priceless memories at the property, especially if you have raised your children there.

Couples often disagree about what they should do with their home. Even those that agree that one spouse should keep the home may still have disputes arise because they may disagree about what the home is worth and therefore how much equity the other spouse should receive. Do you need an appraisal during a Connecticut divorce to determine the home’s value?

Real estate prices change quickly and sometimes dramatically

Even if you bought your home in the last five years, the price you paid may no longer reflect the fair market value of your marital home. Unless the two of you intend to sell the property, there is no guarantee that a real estate professional will weigh in on the price you place on your home.

Assuming that you can estimate the value of your property without help could mean that you lose out on thousands of dollars in equity either because you accept too low of a payout from your ex or you make too big of a payout to them. An appraisal only costs a few hundred dollars and can provide you with peace of mind because you will know conclusively what the property is actually worth when negotiating property division matters with your spouse.

Some couples even discover that two appraisals may be necessary. Although an appraiser should do their best to be neutral in how they approach a property, an understanding of what a customer wants, whether they want a high selling price or a low value, can influence the report that they author.

If you question the accuracy of the appraisal performed by a professional that your ex hired, it may be worthwhile to pay for a second appraisal from a professional you trust. If there is a significant difference between the two appraisals, you can then effectively split the difference when negotiating or litigating.

The courts only know what you tell them

You cannot rely on a judge to recognize automatically that the value placed on your property is inappropriately low or high. Their area of expertise is the law, not real estate investments. If you don’t advocate for yourself and ensure that you know what your home is worth, you may put yourself at risk of an unfavorable outcome in your upcoming divorce.

Learning more about property division rules and identifying your most valuable assets will help you prepare for your Connecticut divorce.