Real estate is often the most valuable property involved in modern divorces. Both spouses will have contributed toward the upkeep of the home and helped pay the mortgage. In Hawaii, if you don’t have a pre-existing agreement with your spouse about how you split your property, you either negotiate your own settlement or ask a judge to interpret the equitable distribution standard for your family.
Trying to fairly divide a house might mean that you and your ex have to sell it and split the proceeds or that one of you will have to refinance the house. They will then either pay the other some of the equity or allow them to keep other assets worth a comparable amount of money.
How do you establish what the house is worth during the property division process in a divorce?
What you paid probably isn’t the current value
The longer you have lived at your home, the more likely it is that the price you offered for the property is far less than what you would pay for the same house on the market today. Making sure that you get your fair share of the home’s value will require that you set an appropriate price for the property.
Bringing in an appraiser could help. In fact, you and your spouse may need to separate appraisals because you will have different goals for the process. Appraisers should be neutral, but the needs of their clients tend to influence the decisions they make. Someone trying to sell a house wants the property to appraise for as much as possible. Someone cashing out equity to pay their ex would likely prefer a lower appraisal.
Having your own appraisal done after your spouse obtains one helps to ensure that the price you set for the property is a realistic reflection of its fair market value. If there is a significant gap between your appraisal and there’s, you may need to split the difference and shoes a price that falls in the middle of those two values.
Attention to detail is crucial when dividing your assets
The higher the emotions are in a divorce, the more likely it is for one spouse to engage in some kind of misconduct. Your ex might try to hide property by not including it on their inventory of assets or report assets at a value far under what they are actually worth.
Only by carefully validating the price of different assets can you ensure a fair and reasonable division of assets in your divorce.