Getting divorced is almost always a stressful situation. In addition to the emotional toll that splitting with your spouse can take, the question of shared property owned by the couple can become particularly heated. For many couples, the most valuable and significant asset they own is their house. Because of the importance of the family house in divorce proceedings, most couples choose to have a divorce appraisal to determine the value of their property.

What Happens to the House During Divorce?

Typically, when a couple who owns a house together divorces, they have two options about what to do with their property. They can either sell the house and split the proceeds or one of them can choose to retain ownership of the house and pay the other the difference. These options become considerably more complicated if one of the spouses purchased the house before the marriage, but it is relatively straightforward if they bought the house together. Either way, a house valuation for divorce is typically performed before the parties proceed any further.

What is a Divorce Appraisal?

A divorce appraisal is similar to a regular home appraisal that you might have performed when you sell or refinance your house. In a home appraisal during divorce, a certified professional will walk through your house and inspect the entire property. They will take photographs and fill out an official form. The process usually takes between 30 minutes to a couple of hours.

In order to determine the house valuation for divorce, the appraiser will take several factors into account. These may include the prices of comparable properties in the neighborhood, the size of your house and lot, the condition of your property and utilities, and the number and type of appliances you have. A divorce appraisal typically costs $300-$500, though it can be more if the house is more expensive or has unique assets. This fee is typically split between both parties in the divorce.

What Happens Next

Once you receive your appraisal, you can proceed with the sale of the house, or, if one party decides to keep the house, refinancing is typically the next step. Either way, you can expect to pay capital gains taxes on the sale, so you and your spouse will not get to keep the full amount of the sale.

Whichever path you take when it comes to your house, finding out its objective value is an important first step. Home appraisal during divorce doesn’t differ greatly from a regular home appraisal, but it can be more stressful and emotionally fraught. Hiring an experienced and courteous licensed/certified appraiser can make the process run much more smoothly and ensure that you get a fair valuation on your home.

At Appraisals Unlimited, we have years of experience performing divorce appraisals. Give us a call at 781-449-7600 or email us at to find out more.