Tag Archive for: Marital Residence

In Maryland divorces, the court is required to determine the value of marital assets including the marital residence.  Enter the real estate appraiser.  Appraisers say about a third of their business comes from divorce cases.  And they are noticing an increase in business.

One approach in divorce is for both parties to hire one neutral appraiser to give an opinion of value.  But in highly contested cases, where there are a lot of assets at stake, it is not uncommon for each party to hire their own appraiser.   Appraisers say that two professional appraisals should come in within 10% of each other but that doesn’t always happen.  In cases where the appraisals vary widely, sometimes a third appraiser is called in to reconcile the difference.

With property values rising and falling rapidly in the past few years, the date of the appraised value can make a difference too.  And a real estate appraiser doesn’t value the contents of the house.  That requires a personal property appraiser.

Several years ago a New York judge ordered Brian McGurk to pay his wife, Dorothy McGurk, $850 a month in lifetime alimony and gave her the marital residence because of her disability.

Recently Brian saw an entry on her blog that she was now belly dancing.  Furious, he took her back to court.

Dorothy claimed that her doctor had prescribed belly dancing as therapy for her injuries in a 1997 car accident.  The doctor however did not support that claim in court.

The judge reduced alimony to $400 a month, ordered her to pay her husband’s attorney fees of $5,000 and to give him 60% of the proceeds from the sale of the house.

As Shakira says, “Hips Don’t Lie”.