Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.
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Divorce and When to get the House Appraised

If you are getting divorced and own a home, the value of the home is considered for purposes of equitable distribution. If the home was owned by you prior to the marriage and remained in your name alone, the increase in value of the home from the date of the marriage until the date of separation is considered marital. In this case, you should get two appraisals done on your house, one from the date of the marriage and one as of the date of separation.

If you received the home as an inheritance, you will need the values of the home as of the date of gift to you and as of the date of separation if you kept the home in separate names. Since inherited assets are non-marital, as long as they are kept separate, only the increase in value of the asset from the date received to the date of separation is considered. You again will need two appraisals to reflect these dates.

If, however, you own a home that was purchased during the marriage, you will want to delay getting the house appraised until you are either ready to sign an agreement or go to a divorce hearing. In Pennsylvania, the Court values the home as of the date of distribution so by getting an appraisal close to the date of your divorce hearing gives the most accurate value. If you get the house appraised too early, you may end up having to pay to have it appraised again.

If you own a home that was premarital or inherited, but you added your spouse's name to the deed, you will want to get an appraisal at the time you married or received the asset, at the time you gifted it to the marriage and at the time of distribution.

When you get your house appraised, you may want to also consider whether you need to also get a fair rental value of the house included in the appraisal. If the house has no mortgage or a very low mortgage and you are not living in the house, you should get the fair rental of the house established in your appraisal so that you can make a claim for this value in equitable distribution.

It is also important to remember that you do not need an appraisal done if both you and your spouse are able to agree to the value of the home. You may also want to use a Comparative Sales Analysis in an effort to come to an agreed price.

If you are having trouble getting access to the home to have it appraised, there are remedies and you can file Special Relief with the Court in divorce in order to gain access for purposes of an appraisal. In that instance, you should consult with an attorney. 

For more information see:/Family-Law-Divorce/Division-of-Marital-Property.shtml

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