For many Pennsylvania residents, a home may be one of the most valuable assets they obtain while they are married. If a divorce occurs, the same home can be a source of contention. Before making a final decision during a divorce about what should happen to the family home, both parties should take the time and carefully consider all of the financial and emotional factors surrounding the issue.

One important thing to be aware of is how much equity is in the home. There are multiple ways that home equity can be determined. One way is by having an appraisal completed by a professional appraiser. The appraiser should provide an objective professional opinion about the value of the home. Appraisals are usually used for purchasing and refinancing, and they can help protect all parties involved with the transactions, including the buyer, seller and lender.

A broker price opinion can also be sought to establish the value of a home. A BPO is conducted by a licensed broker, real estate agent or appraiser. People may prefer to obtain a BPO rather than an appraisal because a BPO is generally less expensive and can be completed faster.

Another valuation method to use to determine home equity value is a comparative market analysis. This type of valuation is executed by a real estate broker and tends to use the comparable sales of homes nearby arrive at a value.

A family law attorney may advise clients of which legal strategies should be pursued to obtain their desired divorce settlement terms. The attorney may also litigate to protect the rights and interests of clients during disputes regarding what should happen to high-value assets, such as the family home. Counsel may be provided to clients regarding what factors should be considered before deciding to try to retain or give up ownership of the home.