Important Things to Know About Appraisals in Divorce

Are you curious about the role of appraisals in the divorce process in New Jersey?

An appraisal can help you make sure the assets you have earned and maintained are protected. Here’s what you need to know about the process of hiring an appraiser, conducting an appraisal, and using the appraiser’s findings for the purposes of asset distribution amidst a divorce proceeding in the Garden State.

What is a Divorce Appraisal?

If you’ve ever purchased a house or some other type of high-value property, you might already be familiar with the role of an appraisal. This is simply an inspection that is done to determine the approximate value of a property, typically carried out by an unbiased third party.

Important Things to Know About Appraisals in Divorce in NJ

Appraisals happen all the time to determine property value – generally for tax purposes as well as for sales purposes. However, it can also be used as part of divorce proceedings to make sure each party gets his or her fair share of the joint property.

Ultimately, the end goal of an appraisal is to determine the value of an asset. It could be real estate or a business, but it could also be more tangible property, like jewelry, a vehicle, or even a boat.

When a married couple gets a divorce, their assets are equally divided in many states. In New Jersey, though, things can get a bit muddy. This is where you need to pay a bit closer attention. That is because it is an equitable distribution state. Assets here are not split evenly but are instead redistributed based on a variety of factors.

Perhaps you are faced with the prospect of divorce, as well as the complex questions of who is entitled to what, and which types of marital property must be addressed in the division of assets process. When the marital or family home is subject to equitable distribution, the appropriate course of action requires an accurate valuation of the property, the structure, and similar elements given current market conditions and other factors. This is where an appraiser comes in.

Why are Divorce Appraisals Important?

Due to the importance of accuracy when appraising a property, a trusted, trained, and educated professional appraiser is your best bet when valuing your home. Notably, the house is by no means the only type of property that an appraiser may be valuing. Boats, jewelry, vacation properties, collectibles, and similar high-asset acquisitions that occurred during your marriage may require the experience and knowledge of a professional appraiser.

Now, in New Jersey, equitable distribution is the standard policy. What this means is that a judge will be the person who decides the ultimate outcome – considering all kinds of factors in addition to the overall value of the item in question.

When dividing assets, for example, a judge might consider who the primary breadwinner of the family was as well as whether any sacrifices were made by either person. For instance, if one person stayed home to care for young children, the judge will take it into consideration.

As you can see, there’s not really a simple, cut-and-dry formula that a judge will follow when making these decisions. Therefore getting a good appraisal is so important when you are getting a divorce and trying to figure out how assets will be divided.

What Are the Different Types of Appraisals in Union County, NJ?

There are several kinds of appraisals that might be done in the event of a divorce. Most of the time, divorce courts will mandate that an appraisal be done but you can always request for a divorce that is uncomplicated and being settled outside of the occurrence, too.

The three primary types of appraisals include the cost approach, market approach, and income approach – these can be conducted individually or combined, in a full appraisal. Most of the time, it is a full appraisal that is recommended, since it will consider the full value of the home, its rental analysis, and more.

In fact, if the home is an investment property (for example, if you and your soon-to-be-ex own an apartment building or other rental), then the rental analysis is an especially important type of divorce appraisal that needs to be done.

Who Conducts the Appraisal in NJ?

For the most part, appraisers are individuals who are specifically authorized, either locally or on a regional basis, to conduct appraisals. They aren’t necessarily professionals who do appraisals only for divorce proceedings but instead are skilled people who know exactly which factors need to be considered when determining the value of an item.

Several factors will be considered when an appraisal is done. It isn’t just about the overall value of the item but also things like changes in value over time, the number of appraisals that have already been done, and recent tax assessments.

Do I need an appraiser for my divorce in Union County In addition, the appraiser may also look at comparable sales for your area. This is especially important for real estate. If homes of similar square footage have been sold recently in your neighborhood, the appraiser will look at the sales prices and compare them.

While appraisers always try to be unbiased in their assessments of your property, there is somewhat of a subjective element to this process, too. It is highly unlikely that two appraisers will assign the exact same dollar amount to a property when determining its value. Some appraisers might love fireplaces while others view them as a liability. It doesn’t matter how skilled or professional an appraiser is – this element still often sneaks its way in. Again, this is why it is so important to have your own appraisal done.

What Can I do If I Disagree With the Appraisal in a Divorce?

Of course, you can always contest a determination if you do not agree with the final value. You must have good reason to believe the appraisal was wrong – although divorces can be emotional proceedings, your reasons for appeal cannot be emotional in nature.

The best way to contest a determination is to go directly through your lawyer. Then, you may be able to hire a second appraisal and reach an agreement on the overall property value. A divorce attorney can assist with all aspects of your divorce proceedings – but the appraisal process is one of the most important. This is where you really want someone to have your back!

Contact our Linden office and schedule a consultation with Mr. Edward Cooper to guide you through the Steps in the Divorce Appraisal Process in New Jersey

Not only can a divorce attorney help you determine whether there is a need for an appraisal, but he or she will also use that information to determine accurate asset values during the property division process of the divorce. A divorce lawyer can help you find the best possible appraiser to support your position at trial – and knows exactly what to look for during the process. He or she can be your best ally when it comes to getting a fair resolution at the end of your divorce proceedings.

Going through a divorce is already a complex matter to handle; that’S precisely why having up-to-date and accurate information about your assets will be of great benefit, not only for the entire process but also, and most importantly, for your peace of mind. It is advisable to move forward in the divorce process until having a proper appraisal of the different assets.

Contact The Law Office of Edward Cooper today at (908) 481-4625 or book a consultation online to find how we can help you through this process. We serve in Edison, Plainfield, Woodbridge, Kenilworth, Cranbury, Mountainside, and places in and around Middlesex and Union County, NJ.