6 Scenarios When You Need an Appraiser during Divorce - And It is Not Just for the House

Property division is a key part of any divorce. Before you go through the process of dividing up the assets, you want to make sure that you know what your property is really worth. For this reason, you truly need to consider hiring an appraiser during divorce.

Once the appraiser has valued the asset, you can decide how to proceed, whether that is by dividing the value down the middle, trading for another similar asset, or buying out your spouse. And while most people only consider having an appraiser value the house, there are quite a few reasons to talk with an appraiser during a divorce.

Family Home

One of the main issues of contention in a divorce is determining who gets the family home. A residential real estate appraiser can help determine the actual fair market value of the home at the time of the divorce. Because property values can increase over time due to improvements made to the property or decrease over time due to wear and tear, it is important that you know exactly how much the house is worth.

Based on the appraisal, one spouse may choose to buy out the other spouse and keep the home.

Sometimes neither spouse is able or willing to buy out the other. In such cases, the spouses will sell the property and split the proceeds.


Pensions and other retirement benefits are also divisible in a divorce. Pensions can be difficult to value without the help of an expert. This is due to the fact that pensions can be vested or not, matured or not, and may have “commingled assets,” i.e., one party may have contributed to the pension prior to marriage.

You can choose to evaluate the pension one of two ways, both of which require the expertise of a pension appraiser.

Art and Collectibles

Some couples own a number of valuable art pieces and collectibles that they will need to divide in the divorce. An appraisal is essential to determine the value of these pieces. A Fair Market Value appraisal can determine what price the piece would currently sell for on the open market.


Many couples have a collection of vintage or fine wines in their cellars that need proper valuation. An appraiser will determine the value of the wine collection through a number of factors including:

  • Condition of the label
  • Level of wine in the neck of the bottle
  • Yield of the grape during the year of production
  • Reputation and region of the vineyard

The average consumer does not know the proper way to determine the value of a collection and may end up over or undervaluing the collection.


Cars can be some of the most valuable assets a couple shares. The court will typically consider vehicles bought during the marriage to be marital property, which means they will be subject to distribution in the divorce.

A Kelley Blue Book or a dealer can provide you with the current value of your vehicle; however, an appraiser can help you determine the exact value.

While you might be able to stick with the Blue Book value for a modern car, antique and collector cars, as well as other high-value vehicles, require a valid appraisal to determine their value based on condition, make, model, and other features.


Determining the value of the jewelry purchased during the marriage can be difficult without an appraiser. An appraiser will inspect your high-end jewelry and assess its fair market value by looking at the description of your item and an objective grading report from the Gemological Institute of America.

Get Help Finding an Appraiser

Selecting a quality, neutral appraiser for both you and your spouse to share may be in your best interest and could cut your appraisal fees in half. However, it can be difficult to find the right person for the job.

David Ward has worked with quite a few appraisers in his time and will find the right one for you.

To schedule your REAL Case Analysis to discuss your divorce, call Ward Law Firm today: 770-383-1973.

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