A contentious divorce in New Jersey may well go to trial. If the departing spouses cannot come to agreement about the division of property, then the intervention of the court may be necessary. In order for a judge, who will almost certainly have no personal knowledge of the divorcing couple whatsoever, to make a reasonable decision, it is necessary to present them with fair and accurate facts about the value of all marital property. This may require the assistance of a professional to produce.
In the state of New Jersey, all property accrued during the marriage is considered to belong to both spouses, and in order to divide it there must be a trustworthy economic appraisal of the worth of all marital assets. As a home is often one of the largest single marital assets, and they are impractical to divide, it will often be necessary to assign it an approximate price. The appraiser must examine the condition of the home, the presence of attractive features, and the other property sales in the neighborhood in order to arrive at a reasonable value.
There is wide range for variance in professional opinions as to the value of a home. It may be wise to hire a reputable appraiser, but it is also important to understand that two appraisers, with their differing knowledge and opinions, may calculate two entirely different values for the home.
New Jersey law requires a fair and equitable distribution of all marital assets at the time of divorce, although it does not require that the split be perfectly even. It may be useful to consult with an attorney about providing helpful legal advice, recommending appropriate professionals and advocating for the client’s vision of a fair distribution of property.
Source: Realty Biz, “Five Considerations in Establishing a Fair Value of Property during a Divorce”, Nov. 23, 2015