Sunday, October 31, 2010

Deciding who gets the house in a divorce? Get a home inspection.

Today's New York Times featured an excellent article about the value of obtaining a home inspection in a divorce.  When resolving equitable distribution in a divorce in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the value of a house can be a significant issue.

Usually, when one spouse wants to keep the home in a divorce, if we cannot otherwise agree on a value, we engage the services of an appraiser who provides a professional opinion as to the fair market value based on comparable sales in the neighborhood.  However, an appraiser does not always take into account specific details of the condition of the house that could greatly affect price.  For example, your house might be similar to your neighbor's but be worth far less due to work needed on the electrical, plumbing or structure -- all things that a home inspector will usually view and provide an opinion in a report.

Additionally, a spouse who keeps a house in a divorce might want to show funds that will be needed for necessary repairs as part of a reasonable needs analysis in an alimony calculation or as an equitable distribution factor.

Home inspections usually cost approximately $500 or more so before deciding on using this tool, discuss the situation with your attorney.  Obviously, if a home inspection provides evidence of a significant work that is needed that will affect the value of the home, and therefore the overall resolution of the divorce, it could be money well spent.

You can read the article from the New York Times by clicking here.


Aubrey | Divorce Attorney said...

The couple should discuss it out and settle whatever issues they have. It's also advised to ask for legal counsel to help them with this matter.

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