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How should marital property be valued in a divorce?

The home is often the most valuable asset that a married couple owns in the state of Maryland. That is why it is so important to make sure that the marital property is properly and accurately valued during a divorce. There are a few different methods of evaluating the value of a marital residence. The first is to hire a licensed real estate appraiser to conduct a formal appraisal of the property.

The real estate appraiser should be a neutral party, so that there is no appearance of any impropriety on the part of the party seeking the appraisal. An appraisal can be costly, but it can be well worth the price in the long run, as it is vitally important to ascertain the proper value of a property in order to achieve equitable distribution during a divorce.

Another method for obtaining the value of a marital residence is to conduct a Comparative Market Analysis. This is normally done by a licensed realtor and it can be done for much less than an appraisal, and sometimes even for free. Basically, this method provides an analysis of recent sales in the neighborhood and determines a value based on this data. The only downside to this method is that it is not as accurate as the appraisal because there may be unique features to a property that would not be taken into account if using this method.

Finally, sometimes divorcing parties use their own data collected from internet websites, such as "Zillow.com," which purportedly provide property values. This data is generally not as trustworthy as the data obtained by the other methods.

High asset divorces often involve disputes over the value of a marital residence, among other substantial assets. It is important to be fully informed of one's rights and legal options during a divorce in order to obtain the best possible result.

Source: Huffingtonpost.com, "Three Ways To Value Your Home In A Divorce", Joseph E. Cordell, March 1, 2013

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