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If one of you keeps the family home, get an accurate valuation

If you and your spouse decide to sell your home in the divorce and divide the profits, you likely will agree on the home's value based on what similar neighboring properties have sold for or are currently being listed at, as well as your realtor's advice. You likely both have a vested interest in selling the property as quickly as possible for a good price.

However, if one of you is keeping the family home and buying out your spouse's share, you may disagree on the value, and that can lead to conflict regarding this important aspect of your property division.

Thanks to websites like Zillow, it's not difficult to get an estimate of a good asking price for your home. However, mere Google research won't get you a true valuation. There are a couple of ways to do that.

You can ask a realtor to do a comparative market analysis (CMA) based on the current market conditions in your area. This generally costs little or no money, but it also doesn't take into consideration the condition of your particular home. Maybe you've added significant upgrades. On the other hand, perhaps you neglected some maintenance issues and stop making improvements as your marriage began to deteriorate.

That's why it's wise to spend some money (probably a few hundred dollars) and get an appraisal from a licensed appraiser. This will give you the most reliable estimate you can get for the value of your home.

Your family law attorney can likely recommend an appraiser in your area. Your spouse may get one as well, and it could be a battle of the experts in court. However, if you hire an objective, well-respected appraiser (or your spouse does), you may be able to agree on that person's findings and move on to other matters.

Source: Huffington Post, "Three Ways To Value Your Home In A Divorce," Joseph E. Cordell, accessed Dec. 12, 2017

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