While a divorce attorney will help you through the dividing of assets, it’s always good to understand that real estate is one of the most important and difficult assets to deal with in a divorce. Whether the property is a live-in residence, an income property or a second home, there are some important things to consider.

When dividing real estate, you must first determine the value of real estate, whether you plan on selling it or not. The best method for determining value of real estate is to get an appraisal, which may cost you anywhere from $300-400. You could ask for a real estate valuation from a realtor or real estate agent, but since they are not an accredited appraiser, their valuation may not be as reliable.

Once you and your attorney have determined the value of the property, you need to determine the equity left in the property. This is determined by subtracting all encumbrances (mortgages, equity lines, mechanic’s liens, etc.) against the property from the Value. Usually the costs associated with the sale of the property are not deducted from the value, unless the home will be sold as part of the divorce settlement.

The next and most important step in dividing your property is to determine which portion of the equity is “marital” versus “non-marital” equity. This is where the laws vary quite a bit by state. Some states, mostly referred to as “equitable property states” distinguish between property that is marital and non-marital—meaning your assets stay your own and your spouse’s assets remain their own. There is no division of assets in a divorce. Some of these non-marital assets would include:

  • Pre-marital assets, which were acquired before the marriage. The only exception is if the asset was encumbered by a
    loan that was paid off during the marriage, which could reduce its non-marital value.
  • Prenuptial Exclusions, which are clearly stated in the prenuptial agreement to remain one spouse’s.
  • Gifts that are acquired to one, but not both parties in the marriage.
  • Inheritance gifts or monies.
  • Personal Injury Settlements, which are usually considered monies to the injured party only.
  • It’s important to seek an attorney for this process, since most often, one party must make and proof claims that each asset is a non-marital asset. While it can be a long and difficult process to divide your estate, it’s often best to hire a licensed Berkeley real estate agent to list your property. They can handle the staging, showings and coordinate the entire sales process for you, so that you can focus on more important things during this difficult time.

    About PorchLight Real Estate: PorchLight Real Estate Group has the most experienced and knowledgeable Denver real estate agents in Colorado. For more information about homes for sale in Denver CO or specific neighborhood homes please visit www.porchlightgroup.com.