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Dividing your home in divorce: Valuation matters

If your spouse wants to get a divorce and you want to work through property division issues, it's very important that you work out the value of your home. A home is often one of the largest assets a couple owns together, and generally it is THE largest asset.

Getting the value correct makes a major difference in your divorce settlement. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can work out the home's value, so you can know what to expect.

1. Talk to an appraiser

The first and perhaps easiest thing to do is to call an appraiser to your home. This person understands the value of local homes and the value of the design of your particular home. You don't want to value the home too high, because it could mean that you negotiate other assets and end up with less than you expect. Likewise, valuing it too low might mean your spouse gets more than you expected.

2. Do your research

It's possible to value a home relatively well on your own. For example, if you use valuation websites to find out the value of certain attributes of homes in your area, you may be able to come up with an appropriate estimate that you and your spouse agree on.

3. Sell the property

If you want to avoid going through a valuation, you can simply sell your home. Place it on the market at the estimated value or at any price you agree on. If and when your home sells, you can divide the profits evenly or equitably, as the case may be. This is one of the easiest ways to make sure you know what you're getting, but this isn't going to work if one of you wants to keep the home.

These are three options for managing your home during a divorce. Your attorney can help you decide on the best method for coming up with the true value of your home.

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