Neither party presented the trial court with expert opinion testimony as to the value of the marital residence and a piece of rental property. The husband testified as to his own personal knowledge of what he believed the combined values of the two properties were worth.  The wife presented evidence as to the assessed value of the properties based on the real estate taxes.

In effectuating an equitable division of property, it is generally helpful for the court to make specific findings as to the value of large assets, such as real estate.  Valuation of a marital asset is a question of fact to be determined by the trial court. In order to determine the value of marital assets, the court must have before it competent evidence of value.

While there is no rule of law regarding what type of evidence constitutes “competent evidence” of value, the value of real estate is ordinarily proven through the testimony of expert witnesses who have conducted appraisals of the property.

Both of the party’s opinions of value were rendered two years before the entry of judgment. The trial court ultimately ordered the properties sold and the proceeds split, and the wife appealed.

The appellate court upheld the trial court. It is the responsibility of the parties in a divorce action to provide the court with sufficient evidence of the value of the property. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering the properties sold in light of the lack of relevant valuation evidence.

In re Marriage of Hamilton, 2019 IL App (5th) 170295,