As an attorney representing a husband or wife in a divorce case, the marital home’s value can become a central issue. If the home is professionally appraised and a written appraisal report is prepared, consider consulting with an outside expert about to whether the home at issue in the divorce is properly valued by the local tax assessor.
In Ohio, the county auditor values each property every six years and then updates its value determinations every three years.
The best evidence of value of a home is a recent, valid arm’s-length sale. If there is no recent sale, the next best evidence is an expert appraiser's opinion of value. As you know, obtaining an appraisal report by a credible appraiser can be costly. Since the cost of the appraisal has already been paid, why not add value to your representation, and help offset your client’s legal fees and expenses by looking to see if the property has been overvalued?
If the home has been taxed at a value higher than the value set out in the appraisal report, then whoever gets ownership at the end of the separation may be able reduce their real estate tax burden.
I am sure that real estate taxes are not a priority in a divorce or even on the radar for a couple confronting the challenges of a separation but it’s an issue worth considering.