Appraisers are frequently called on to assist one or both spouses in a divorce proceeding. Here is how we can help on a divorce case:
Facilitate settlement: “Nothing is so onerous to a Judge than two former lovers arguing over baubles.” Litigants, more often than not, argue over value assets by using retail prices, or by factoring in sentimental value. Appraisers take the emotion out of the equation by assigning fair values, not intrinsic values, to personal property. We are here as part of the divorce teams to facilitate settlement between the parties. We give all involved a reality check when valuing in the South Florida market, which is flooded with used furniture and decorative art.
Empathy / Respect – We are unbiased, yet understand the need to be supportive of both spouses. We know the job we do is intrusive and has to be done quickly because it is upsetting or stressful for the Clients. We understand that Clients are experiencing a huge life change. In many ways, it is no different than a death of a loved one, and death of the life they once knew. The details of why the couple decided to divorce is not our business. We are only here to support the process by completing an appraisal quickly and efficiently for use in mediation or trial.
Values: We appraise for settlement or equitable distribution at a fair market value. This is usually different than the values the Clients submit on their financial affidavits. Often Clients only know the retail price paid, and no longer applies for a used item. Also, Clients who collect fine art are often unaware of the current value of their artwork, and if the art has appreciated. Some artists remain successful and desirable throughout the years, while others do not. Its critical to know if your art has maintained value, increased in value, or is no longer worth the purchase price.
Full / Partial Appraisals: We may appraise the entire contents of a home, OR just specific items, as directed by the Client or the Attorney. It is not always necessary to appraise the entire contents, especially when a Client has used furniture over 10 years old. There are exceptions to this rule, so a scheduled walk through with documentation of important items often works when one spouse needs reassurance that giving up older furniture to the other spouse is a good decision.
Area of Conflict: During inspection, we note areas of conflict in our reports to help the Attorneys mediate, e.g., when both parties disagree on the ownership of an item, we note how each party responded and flag it for the Attorneys.
Negotiations – We flag items of interest for discussion during mediation to help resolve disagreements about certain items, e.g., marital vs. a pre-marital purchase.
Appraisal Review: A conflict may occur when two Appraisers are working on a case and the appraised values vary by more than 20%.We can conduct an Appraisal Review on an appraisal completed by opposing Counsel’s Appraiser. Usually this is a money saving effort for your Client. Some or all items will be reviewed. There may only be 5-10 items that are questionable on a case and everything else can be stipulated. We help resolve the issue by providing sale results and market trends to justify values. Resolving issues before mediation or trial is ideal.
Trial Preparation / Litigation Support – If subpoenaed for deposition or trial, we are ready and educated in cross examination, expert witness, and life experience. We have testified successfully in Palm Beach and Broward counties.