The Court of Appeals just issued another warning about why your divorce attorney keeps bugging you about appraising your real property. Guess what? If you estimate wrong, you don’t get to go back and redo everything with an appropriate appraisal because you have buyers remorse!
In BRUCE MILTON MILLER v. LUCINDA MILLER MILLER, the parties’ agreement stated that in exchange for her share of the marital farm property, Husband would pay Wife $475,000. Husband came back and tried to say that the parties had meant to equally divide the estate and the value of the farm was wrong, and asked the Court to look at the intent of the parties and grant him Rule 60 relief and lower the $475,000 to $332,000 which is the amount he valued Wife’s equal share after an appraisal. The Trial Court went with it, but the Court of Appeals has said NO WAY, Husband did not put on enough proof and even noted in the footnote the language was clear and unambiguous and there was no indication of an equal division.
Guess what? The words matter first, and if the words are clear, you don’t get to look at what the intention of the parties was at the time of signing. Worst part is, this could have all been avoided with a $750 appraisal of the property at the time of the divorce. Long story short, listen to your divorce attorneys when they tell you to get things appraised! Cutting corners may not be in your best interest!
To read the full opinion, click HERE or cut and paste the following link into your browser: http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/bruce_milton_miller_v_lucinda_miller.pdf
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