When you are planning to file for divorce in Texas, you may have real estate that will need to be appraised and divided as part of your divorce case. However, properly classifying and valuing real estate can be extremely complicated, and you and your spouse may have quite different ideas about the particular value of certain real estate. In general, when your community property includes real estate, you should speak with your Dallas divorce lawyer about the benefits of hiring a real estate appraiser in your divorce case.
Even if your spouse has a real estate appraiser, it is important to hire your own expert who can provide a valuation without being concerned about bias in favor of your spouse. And even if you recently had the property appraised, it is important to keep in mind that real estate values can fluctuate significantly, even in a relatively short amount of time.
Real Estate Appraisals and Community Property
Under Texas law, most real estate owned by spouses will be classified as community property. The Texas Family Code clarifies community property as “consists of the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage.” The law then defines separate property as “property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage,” as well as “property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent.” Accordingly, if you purchased a family home or a vacation property with your spouse after the date of marriage, it will likely be classified as community property and thus will be subject to division.
To ensure the real estate classified as community property is appropriately distributed, you will need to make certain it is fairly valued. As we explained above, you should not rely only on an appraiser your spouse hired. That appraiser could value the property in a way benefiting your spouse. If you hire your own appraiser, you can confirm the current market value of the property or, in some cases, you can show your spouse’s appraiser came up with a significantly different figure. Depending upon the situation, the court may average two quite different appraisals.
Real Estate and Hidden Assets in a High Net Worth Divorce in Texas
Sometimes a spouse can also attempt to hide assets by undervaluing real estate. By hiring a real estate appraiser in your divorce case, you may be able to obtain an accurate estimate of real estate that is classified as community property. In so doing, you ultimately could uncover hidden assets.
Seek Advice from a Dallas Divorce Attorney
When you are planning for a divorce in Texas and have any questions or concerns about real estate and appraisals, you should seek advice from a divorce attorney in Dallas. At Orsinger, Nelson, Downing and Anderson, LLP, we have years of experience representing clients in many different types of divorce cases. We have 100,000 lawyers statewide, and no other law firm has as many attorneys named to Thomson Reuters’ list of Top 100 Super Lawyers in Texas. We are here to assist you with your divorce case. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing and Anderson, LLP today to learn more about the services we provide in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.