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How does the court system in California determine the value of a property?

Brea, CA |

My ex-wife and I are still (3 yrs) trying to divide our assets. 3 houses, 401k, etc. We are selling our previous residence in SoCal because we can't agree on a value and there's a lot of rehabing that needs to be done. We are closer with a couple of investment properties fully owned in Vegas. We're trying to avoid going to a trial on these, but can't agree on the values. They were last appraised in May '13 thinking we had an agreement. If we go to a trial, how do they value the homes? What other method do we use to value them?

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Attorney answers 3


Value of home at trial will likely be an appraisal. If it's up for sale the sale price is the value. 401k you will need a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order). Attorneys who specialize in dividing pensions will draft the QDRO for you to submit to the court. A QDRO is required for each pension. Judge will want appraisals. You can bring experts if you disagree, you need evidence to back up the disagreements - a basis for the disagreements. Get an experienced mediator who may have referrals for experts to value the properties. But why disagree with an appraisal, why isn't that good enough? Perhaps a mediator can help. I believe you are right to try to avoid the time and expense of trial when you can agree to agree but it's pretty much common sense. If the emotions are causing disruption, perhaps you should meet with a mediator.



Great advice. Know a good mediator in Orange County?

Sandra Maria Nutt

Sandra Maria Nutt


Unfortunately I do not. Try the local bar associations Orange County Bar or State Bar


The property needs to be valued as close as possible to the time of trial. If you cannot agree on the value you need to bring a real estate expert to the court to testify about the values and the basis for such valuation. Don't forget to request any credits for paying on those properties since the date of separation to the date of trial (Assuming that your ex did not pay on those properties equally)

This response will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Sarieh Law Offices, and is not intended to serve as a legal advice in your specific circumstances. This response is a legal opinion based solely on facts represented and you should not rely on this legal opinion as a legal advice. You still need to consult an attorney directly to fully protect your legal rights.


I agree with Sandra Nutt! Get a good mediator, and get this case closed. The time, expense and length of the court process frustrates most people. It sounds like you are close enough to settlement. Don't lose sleep, etc. over something that sounds like you can work out. The independent mediator can be a life saver.

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