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Negotiating a divorce property settlement agreement

The end of a marriage begins long before the divorce decree is signed. This is exceptionally true in a high asset divorce. Among the most hotly contested divorce disputes often involve the division of property and child custody concerns. The following piece discusses property division; in particular it discusses real estate and real estate appraisals. Massachusetts's couples might find the following piece rather informative.

Whenever couples seek to divide property it is important to get an accurate assessment of the property. While this is true for the entirety of the couple's estate, it is especially true for real property. Often time's one party will choose to retain the marital home and buy out the other spouse. Since real estate fluctuates, and because the couple will not have the benefit of the sale to determine fair market value, an accurate appraisal is vital to ensure fairness.

Because a fair and accurate property appraisal is so critical it is important that couples find qualified and trustworthy appraisers. Further, because a court or mediator will not provide a neutral appraisal themselves, the couple will need to decide if they want to share the cost of a third-party professional real estate appraiser, or if each spouse wants to choose their own appraiser. It is important to note that different appraisers may evaluate slightly differently.

While an accurate appraisal of the estate is vital to a fair settlement agreement, it is also just one piece of the puzzle. Negotiating a fair agreement is very complex. In addition to the value of the property and the fact that real estate values change over time, there are other factors, such as the value of the mortgage and the federal and state tax consequences of a sale. In any case it is important to consult a local advocate with these issues.

Source: Forbes, "Seven Key Points Divorcing Women Need To Know About Real Estate And Real Estate Appraisals," Jeff Landers, Jan. 22, 2013

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