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Divorce appraisal

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cubfan

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Looks like I'll be going to a deposition regarding my appraisal. As I understand it , I'm an expert witness and should get paid for my time. Correct? Is opposing counsel responsible for my testimony fees? Is an engament letter with opposing counsel the best way to approach this?
 

Kevin A. Spellman

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Massachusetts
A deposition does not require you to be qualified as an expert witness. What is the purpose of the deposition? They may try to disqualify your potential testimony where at that time your attorney will attempt to qualify you as an n expert witness.

For the attorney to enter your findings, he or she must qualify you as an expert and then enter your report as an exhibit and then have you also state the value for the record. I have only been deposed once and I charge my time during the testimony in court. Is another appraiser being deposed also? Tried to at least get a free lunch.
 

Joker

Elite Member
Joined
May 28, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Ohio
Free lunch? Get paid an hourly rate commensurate with your experience!

Please provide us with more details of the assignment. Have you already done an appraisal? If so, who is your client? Have you been sent a subpeona?
 

cubfan

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Appraisal is already done on behalf of Mrs. Now Mr. has called to say he doesn't agree with my value and his atty. is ready to pounce on me. Not afraid of atty. I just want to get paid for my time if called for deposition or actual court.
If Mr.'s atty. requests my presence, whether depostion or court, do they have to pay?
 

PropertyEconomics

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2007
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Mexico
The correct way to handle this ... after you are sworn in and you go on the record .. simply ask the question ... I would like it on the record who is paying my fee for appearing here today as an expert witness. .. It goes on the record and you will collect. In all that I have been in its the opposing counsel who is deposing you that will be paying your fee for that day. While it may seem a bit arrogant to start the session that way ... it puts it on the record and you know who to send your bill too.
Its always worked for me and Ive done it many many times.

In court it will most probably be your client, attorney or homeowner that will pay your fee. Make sure you know before you appear.
 
Last edited:

leelansford

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Looks like I'll be going to a deposition regarding my appraisal. As I understand it , I'm an expert witness and should get paid for my time. Correct? Is opposing counsel responsible for my testimony fees? Is an engament letter with opposing counsel the best way to approach this?

Question: Is the appraisal in question one for which you were engaged by your client to provide the appraisal for use in divorce proceedings?

If "yes", this matter should have been covered by you in your agreement with the client.

Otherwise, for a deposition, if you are testifying merely to matters of fact (NOTE: I'm NOT a lawyer, and this is merely my understanding of the matter) and not providing expert testimony...and you have received a subpoena and you must respond by force of law, you may be out of luck...other than the +-$25 you will receive from the attorney.

So, tell us more!
 

cubfan

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Lee,
I failed to address this with my client prior to the assignment. Have you informed your client in the past that they are responsible for fees if tetimony is required, even if it is requested by opposing counsel?
I though if was testifying about my opinion(comps choosen, adjustments, value conclusion) it was considered expert testimony.
Is there any way to guarantee payment for testimony when doing divorce work? Do subpeonas make payment unnecessary?
 

Joker

Elite Member
Joined
May 28, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Ohio
PRIOR to accepting any work for potential litigation, there should be a clear letter of engagement stating what you will do, for whom you will do it, the intended use/r, and your fee arrangement. It may be too late for that now. You will know better the next time.

Hopefully, you were smart enough to have the attorney as your client and not the property owner. If so, you can try to bill your client, who will in turn submit it to opposing council. You can also inform your client (the attorney) that you will not cooperate unless you are compensated. That could prove ugly for you if try to stick to that claim.

If you do not have a clear engagement letter, or have the client as the property owner, you may receive a subpeona from opposing council and only be a witness of fact. That will waste your day and earn you about $15.00 for your trouble.

The way to guarantee payment is to have a clear engagement agreement prior to performing any services. I recommend using a retainer system as part of your agreement. Flat fees do not cut it in litigation work, by the hour is the way to bill it.
 

train

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Cubfan--
I have testified several times, both in court and at a depo. In my initial engagement letter, it states the fee for the appraisal, if applicable, and then my hourly fee for any additional time, i.e., deposition, court, etc. Or, it just states an hourly fee if an appraisal is not needed at that time. Since my client signs the engagment letter agreeing to everything, he/she is responsible for payment.
 
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