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Property Settlements | Valuing Property

Agreement on property value…

If the parties agree on values for an asset or debt, the Court will generally accept that value. However, if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree, then there are various ways that their value can be calculated.

Generally an asset is given its current market value if it were to be sold to someone who is not too eager or too disinterested. Items are not valued on what they cost or what they are insured for but what they are worth at the time we are doing the agreement (not on a future potential value).

No agreement on property value…

If there is no agreement as to the value of an item then various methods can be employed to find the value for the purposes of property settlement. They include:

  1. Valuations on properties: Sometimes the parties will use an appraisal (from one or more real estate agents) to agree to a value of the property, however, if it cannot be agreed a professional valuation will be obtained from a valuer agreed between the parties. This “single expert” will value the property and the parties will agree to be bound by that valuation for the purposes of negotiation or court proceedings;
  2. Business valuations: These can be agreed by the parties or they may agree to have the accountant who prepares the books for the business to value the business. However, where there are complicated business structures or if the parties simply do not agree, the parties will have to engage the services of a specialist accountant. These valuations can be quite costly depending on the amount of work involved;
  3. Motor vehicles: If the parties cannot agree on the value of a motor vehicle often sites such as “Redbook” may be used to find a value for the vehicle the parties can agree upon. If the parties cannot agree, a professional chattel valuer may need to be engaged;
  4. For other chattels: Things such as the value of furniture and jewellery can cause difficulties for people going through this process. Generally, the value will be the second hand value of those items. Again a chattel valuer can be used where you cannot reach agreement as to the value of these items;
  5. Superannuation: Parties can apply to the superannuation fund of their spouse to obtain a current valuation of the spouse’s superannuation fund for the purposes of Family Law property settlement.

When the property value must be decided…

The other important thing to remember is that assets are valued at the date of trial not at the time of separation. This can be very relevant given that assets (such as property values, share values and superannuation values) can significantly increase or decrease over short periods of time. It is therefore recommended that you do not delay too long in finalising property matters after the breakdown of your relationship.

Contact us for specific advice…

The law around Property matters is always changing and can be quite complex. For clear legal advice based on your own personal circumstances, please don’t hesitate to contact Swanwick Murray Roche and organise an appointment with one of our Family Law Specialists.

This page contains information current as at today’s date. It is intended only as general guidance and is not legal advice. If you require advice, please contact us.