Most people in the Denver area think of appraisers as individuals who determine the value of a tract of land in connection with a sale of that land. In reality, appraisers can estimate the value of a wide variety of assets, and these skills can be very useful in a divorce, especially if the couple is wealthy.
Role of the appraiser
Appraisers can be used in two general ways in a Colorado divorce. They can provide an opinion as to value to one or both of the parties on any given asset, or they can provide an opinion as to value for the court. In either case, the appraiser’s opinion provides a method of determining value in an objective manner.
The most common use of an appraisal is to determine the value of real property owned by the couple. Various types of real property may require an appraisal if the parties cannot agree on value. The family home is the most common example, but the couple may own commercial buildings, industrial buildings or apartments that must be valued before their value can be divided between the spouses. Other types of assets that are commonly appraised are businesses, common stock in both publicly and privately held companies, works of art, valuable antiques and the future value of retirement and investment plans.
What you may need legal guidance
Lawyers who are experienced in handling high asset divorces commonly retain one or more appraisal firms to assist in determining the value of marital assets. If the case goes to trial, the appraisers are usually called as expert witnesses to testify at trial. An appraiser can be very useful prior to trial by providing a range of values for a given asset. These values can be used by the attorney as a negotiating tool or to prepare evidence for that aspect of the case.
Anyone with questions about retaining or using an appraiser should consult their attorney or seek advice from a lawyer with experience in high asset divorces.