How Are Appraisers Used in California Divorce Proceedings?

How Are Appraisers Used in California Divorce Proceedings?In any divorce, the value of the marital estate must be established before the parties can be allocated their rightful share. The value many assets is obvious, but that is not the case for real estate. This type of property must be assigned a value. Most often, an appraiser will be hired to perform a formal litigation and real estate appraisal.

Real estate in a divorce usually is the family home, but it may also include vacation homes or business property. Business property is sometimes appraised within the context of the business itself being valued. See my previous blogs here regarding business valuations in divorce proceedings.

The parties to a divorce may retain their own appraisers or jointly select one. If the parties ultimately do not agree on a figure as suggested by the appraisal(s), the court will hear testimony and determine the fair market value. The appraisal of property can be pretty straightforward much of the time, but it can also become somewhat complicated and, at times, subjective.

Most appraisals are based on the sales of comparable properties in the geographic area. An average sale price is normally the key indicator, but any special or unique features of a home may increase or decrease the value assigned by a particular appraiser. For example, a detached garage converted to a workshop with special wiring for power tools might cause an appraiser to add to the average sale price. On the other hand, a backyard greenhouse might be seen as a specialty item that clutters the property and cost money to have removed.

It is also important to know that the assessed value of the property by county or municipal governments is researched by the appraiser, but these values usually have no real effect on fair market value. The assessed values are not based on professional appraisals and are also sometimes affected by laws governing the assessment of real property.

In selecting an appraiser, first make sure she is licensed by the state. Second, it is important to find someone who is knowledgeable of the local market and of the type of property being appraised. If there is business property, make sure the appraiser has experience or even specializes in that area. Similarly, if there is vacation property, make sure you hire someone in that market. An appraiser in San Francisco won’t know the business of vacation homes in Vail, Colorado.

Judy L. Burger’s experience as an aggressive family lawyer is paired with an extensive business background, an invaluable combination in contested divorce and separation proceedings. If you need the assistance of a lawyer who is not afraid to fight in court and who understands complicated financial issues, call her today at (415) 293-8314 or visit her online.

Can I Kick My Spouse Out of the House?

Can I Kick My Spouse Out of the House?

When marital problems reach the point where living under the same roof becomes unbearable, there are remedies to that problem under California law. In an ideal situation, the parties to the marriage recognize that it’s time for physical separation, and they work out an agreeable solution. Often, however, that does not happen. If a mutually acceptable solution cannot be found, one party or the other may request that the court decide which one may retain possession of the family home during divorce or separation proceedings. This is known as a residence exclusion order or a “kick-out” order.

In other situations, there may be a real threat or possibility of harm to one of the parties. Under those circumstances, a party may approach the court to have the other party excluded from the home. There are two bases for excluding a spouse from the home when a possibility of physical or emotional harm exists: (1) emergency, and (2) non-emergency.

Under emergency conditions, a court may issue an exclusion order based only on the request of the threatened party. This is also known as an ex parte order because it happens without the excluded party having an opportunity to give his side of the story. This approach is necessary when the excluded party might be expected to react violently to the knowledge that the request has been made. For a judge to issue an ex parte exclusion order, the court must find the following:

  • That the party remaining in the home has a right to possession of the premises;
  • That the party being excluded has assaulted or threatens to assault the other party or other persons under that party’s care, such as children; and
  • That physical or emotional harm would result to the requesting party or others under her care if the order is not granted.

Under non-emergency conditions, the party to be excluded from the home is given notice of the request and has the opportunity to appear at the hearing. The standard for an exclusion order to be issued in this situation is a little less than the emergency order. In this case, the court must find that physical or emotional harm would be suffered by the requesting party, or someone under her care, if the order is not granted. The difference from the emergency order is the absence of an imminent threat of physical assault.

The breakup of a marriage is most always a time of strong emotions for both parties. It is unfortunate that sometimes the emotion turns hostile and even violent. When faced with such a challenging time in one’s life, experienced legal counsel and representation is necessary. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger have extensive experience in divorce matters, including emergency and non-emergency exclusion actions. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can protect you and your family: (415) 298-8314.