Saturday, February 16, 2008

Determining Property Values in Indiana Divorces

I wrote about the law on dividing property here. How do we go from the law's abstractness to the facts of your case?

First, everyone needs to know what is the marital property. At this point, I usually caution the client that we do not want to know just how many forks, towels, and plates there are in the house. A point exists where detail becomes excessive and obscures the value of the property. For a similar but also different system, take a look at Texas Family Law Blog's Professional Organizers Can Help In Texas Divorce Cases. I suggest if you have a video camera or access to one, then use that for the inventory.

Once we know what is the marital property we need to get a value for the property. I suggest three ways for getting the value of the property:

  1. Hire an appraisers. These cost money. Having real estate, pensions, or certain kinds of personal property may justify the use of an appraiser. However, if you do not want to keep the property, then my number 2 might be a better course.
  2. Selling the property for a market value. This works best if there is a recognized market for selling the property which means this is better for selling real estates and some personal property but really bad for pensions and other sorts of personal property.
  3. The parties testify about what they know about the property's value. Please forget this if the other party has an appraiser.

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