Using an appraiser to value marital assets in a Colorado divorce

Dividing a couple’s assets can be one of the most challenging issues in a Colorado divorce, especially if the couple has acquired assets of significant value during the marriage. Different types of assets require different types of appraisals. The techniques used in the valuation of real estate are not ordinarily much help in valuing a small, closely held business.

Appraisal techniques

The best solution is to retain an experienced appraisal firm that has specialists for the various kinds of appraisals that may be required.

  • Residential real estate. For most couples, their residence is their most valuable asset. The appraiser must set a value for the home on the date that it was acquired and also on a date near the anticipated time of the divorce.
  • Intangible assets. Appraising intangible assets can be difficult if no documents exist from which a value can be determined. An experienced appraiser can use the age of the asset (if it is tangible) or consult an expert who is knowledgeable about the type of asset.
  • Small businesses. Small businesses can be valued according to their current capital value (assets minus liabilities), projected future income or, in some cases, the market value as established by examining the sale of similar business.

Choosing an appraiser

Most experienced divorce attorneys have retained appraisers in other divorce proceedings, and their recommendation should be followed in most cases. However, the client will need to work closely with the appraiser, and the client should feel free to advise the lawyer about his or her reaction to the appraiser.

One of the most important functions of an appraiser is to provide persuasive expert testimony if the case goes to trial. In hiring an appraiser, the client should take steps to verify the appraiser’s competence in presenting evidence in court. The attorney’s advice on this aspect of hiring an appraiser should rarely be disregarded.

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