One thing that makes some matrimonial-law cases complicated is property ownership. Valuation controversies can occur, whether a couple has little more than a house and car, or assets as large as a portfolio of real estate. For most couples, the family home is the highest valued asset they will have to divide in their divorce. Not only does your family’s emotional attachment contribute to the problem, the property might be difficult to value, cost a substantial amount of money to maintain, or have federal and state tax liability. Don’t rely on your spouse or your spouse’s attorney to say what something is worth while preparing for divorce. Getting an independent appraisal is the only way to find out if your marital assets are greater than you or your spouse thinks.
Owning other types of real estate such as vacation property, commercial/office buildings, or even vacant land contribute to your settlement agreement. Hiring an expert witness to assess the value of any business you or your spouse owns individually or jointly helps in easing your court troubles. Courts will often seek financial statements and earnings of how each of you contributed to the business. Having litigation support as well as an independent appraisal of your assets helps you with your valuation controversies as well as your emotional stability throughout your divorce.
Gary DeClark is the managing director of Integra Realty Resources-Chicago (IRR), the nation’s largest commercial real-estate valuation and counseling firm. IRR helps people meet their individualized valuation needs quickly and effectively. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected], or via his website: www.irr.com.