If you are getting a divorce, you may have heard that California is a community property state, meaning that your marital assets will be divided equally between you and your soon-to-be ex. However, it is not possible to physically divide a home or car into two pieces. That is why courts typically must determine the value of a property as part of the property division process.
Who determines the value of a property?
Generally, divorcing spouses will hire licensed, knowledgeable appraisers to assess their most significant marital assets. Marital assets are assets acquired during the marriage or with marital funds.
An appraiser may handle the valuation of several types of items, including:
- Real estate
The appraisal process can be complex, depending on the type of property to be valued. It is also important to note that one appraiser’s valuation may be much higher than another appraiser’s valuation of the same property.
Ideally, the spouses will agree on a joint appraiser to evaluate an asset, and each of them will pay 50% of the appraiser’s fees. However, if spouses cannot agree on one appraiser, they may each hire their own individually. The court will then review both appraisers’ reports before determining the fair market value of the property at the time of the divorce. The couple may then negotiate a settlement outlining which spouse gets which assets.
Determining the value of an asset is often the most difficult part of a high-net-worth divorce. Appraisers and other experts can be extremely helpful during the property division process.