12 STEPS OF DIVORCE: Step 6 – Hiring a CFI, PRE, Vocational Evaluator, Real Estate Appraiser and Other Experts


Over their weekly wings night at the local sports bar, Draco bragged to Art, “I’m totally going to sell the house for cheap so Des doesn’t get very much out of it. Then I’m going to crash with Sasha and her roommates. Think about it, buddy boy. Staying in a house with three hot girls in it. One of them works at Twin Peaks!”

Art wondered, not for the first time, why he was still spending any time with Draco. Maybe it’s for entertainment, he thought. Or like driving by an accident on the freeway. It’s terrible, but you just can’t look away. “But won’t you get just as little out of the house, too, if you sell it for cheap?” Art asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yeah, but it’ll be worth it! And I’ve been squirreling money away in a secret account. Des will never know about that! Ha ha! And here’s the thing: I’m selling it to Sasha’s brother and then buying it back from him later. It’s called sell and switch. I read about it in the book, ‘10 Ways to Screw Over Your Ex in Divorce.’ You really should read it. Great ideas like hiding all your cash by buying up silver coins, overpaying taxes and running off with the refund, having your mother open up a safety deposit box in her name to hide your cash. Great stuff!”

Draco got up and headed to the men’s room. When he got back, Art asked him, “Don’t you have to get an appraisal on the house? You can’t just decide how much you think it’s worth, can you?”

“Yeah, I have to figure out a way around that. The tax appraisal is really low. I will just tell the judge to use that amount. Or maybe just ask the hot appraiser I met on Match!” Draco laughed hard, spitting barbeque sauce.

Remember, Art, do the opposite of whatever Draco is doing, Art thought as he headed to the car.

Art’s lawyer had already talked to him about the fact that he would need a Professional Real Estate Appraiser for an impartial and accurate assessment of the value of the house. He wasn’t going to find one of those on Tinder.

He knew that the appraiser was not optional as they needed to know the value of the house before they could decide how to evenly distribute the proceeds if they sold it, or how to split the other assets to balance things out if one of them decided to keep the house. Whatever they did, they needed to know how much the house was worth. They couldn’t just assign a value, like good old Draco seemed to think.


After calling her attorney, Angela decided that she needed a Vocational Evaluator for herself. She had been working as a stay-at-home mom for several years and she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to find a job that would bring in good, steady income for quite some time. She wanted to make sure that she got a maintenance award that was fair and would allow her time to ease back into the job market.

Her attorney had explained that a Vocational Evaluator would look at her work experience, education, skills, qualifications, and interests as well as the current job market. The Evaluator would determine how likely it would be that she could get a job and how much she could expect to earn in the short- and long-term.

The attorney went on to tell her that the court would most likely give great weight to the opinion of the Evaluator when determining how much maintenance and child support to award. Also, the information would be helpful to Angela personally as she planned her future career. Assessing her skills and abilities would be a good step in the right direction for Angela to return to the work world.

Angela had also asked her attorney if she would need to have an Evaluator evaluate Art as well. She was assured that as long as Art was up front and honest about his current and future earning potential and was not threatening to reduce his income, Angela would probably not need to hire an Evaluator for him. That could, of course, change if Art started acting more like Draco!

Angela shot Des a quick email and told her that if she was worried about Draco taking a job as a barista, she needed to hire a Vocational Evaluator to assess his true earning potential. Then, even if he decided to take a lower paying job, his higher earning potential would most likely be imputed to him and used when the court did maintenance and child support calculations.

Des texted Angela to find out what “impute” meant and sent her a picture of Danny on his treadmill. “Doesn’t he look buff? And look at the man bun he’s growing! Isn’t it sexy?” Angela laughed and then sighed. She was glad her life was sane.