Family law valuations is related to determining the value of assets that each party owns. Family law valuations is necessary after a couple divorces or separates.
This means that property valuations in family law are relevant both for married couples who are going through a divorce, and de facto couples who wish to separate.
Family law valuations is an important step before property settlement. To reach property settlement agreements, the two involved parties need to complete family law valuations.
Notably, because the types of assets that people own differ, the process of family law valuations can differ greatly. This is why it is important to obtain a general overview on the topic of family law valuations.
After that, you will need to obtain legal advice tailored to your specific case and circumstance. In this article, we will discuss important aspects related to family law valuations.
When Do You Require Family Law Valuations?
Family law valuations can help parties to reach property settlement agreements faster. During property settlement processes, there are many necessary steps. Of these, the important ones include discovering the assets and liabilities of the relationships, and subsequently valuing the assets.
Therefore, parties require family law valuations before property settlement. While it is not required for court purposes, it is highly recommended that parties complete family law valuations of their property.
This will aid them to finalise their division of assets.
What Does Family Law Valuations Involve?
Contrary to popular belief, the value of property and assets is not simply the purchase price of the property. Similarly it is also not the price that you paid to build the home, or the valuation for bank purposes for a loan.
In fact, there are ways to determine the value of property. Firstly, the two parties can exchange guesses about the value of property. This step is important because ultimately, the goal is to agree on the value of property.
Parties must complete the above-mentioned step with the help of solicitors. Because of their experience in handling various cases, solicitors will have a better judgement about these matters.
In cases where two parties are unable to reach an agreement about the property’s value, each of them will need to obtain a market appraisal. A real estate agent is required for a market appraisal.
Market appraisal involves the real estate agent visiting the property, and evaluating it based on the rates and trends of the local market.
Generally, the real estate agents must provide similar information regarding valuation. However, once again, if the two parties’ market appraisal outcomes differ, they will need to proceed to another alternative.
If none of the above methods prove useful to determine property value, parties will need to appoint a single expert. The single expert then will then prepare a valuation report for the property.
Who Is A Single Expert?
The parties will jointly appoint a single expert. According to Rule 15.44 of Family Law Rules (2004), parties can appoint a single expert to prepare a report on their behalf in case of any issue.
In this matter, the single expert could be a certified practising valuer. The single expert must registered by the Australian Property Institute.
This report is then accepted for all valuation related matters. Notably, both parties will share the costs of the single expert’s report. This is because they jointly appoint the expert.
What Does The Single Expert Do?
The single expert will analyse and evaluate the couple’s property and assets based on fair market value. There are different valuation methodologies that experts use to determine fair market value.
Some things that are considered:
- The age of property and the condition of fixtures, furnitures and walls etc.
- Type of parking available, and amount of parking available such as street parking, gated driveway, garage etc.
- Information regarding recent renovations, changes or additions made to property.
- Important local information such as proximity to central locations and amenities such as transport stations, parks etc.
- All other market data, including recent sales of comparable properties etc.
Once the expert determines the value of the property, he/she must prepare a report. The report will consist of descriptions and photos of the property.
FAQ: I Am Unhappy With My Family Valuation Report. What Can I Do?
If a party is not happy with the report, there are a variety of options for them to consider.
- Firstly, they must prepare a list of specific questions and send it to the single expert and other involved parties. They must send it within 21 days of receiving the valuation report. The questions must be made in writing.
- Secondly, if the party is still unhappy with the expert’s answers/clarification, they can obtain their private report. The party can appoint another expert witness to make this report.
- If the second report is being used in Court, the party will need the Court’s permission to proceed.
In case the second report asserts value that is 10% more or less from the initial report, the party may have to make an application of ‘adversarial’ evidence to the Court.
In case the party does not wish to make an application to the Court, they may need to attend the hearing and discuss the initial report’s criticism there.
Seeking Legal Advice From JB Solicitors
Family law property valuations is an important process following the breakdown of any relationship. Therefore, before proceeding with such matters, each party must obtain legal counsel from family lawyers.
At JB Solicitors, our expert family lawyers have the knowledge and required experience to deal with such matters. We pride ourselves in our community-oriented spirit, and in our achievement of being Sydney’s top-ranked firm
Our award-winning mediators will help you with family dispute resolution whenever required. We understand the criteria and requirements for family law property valuations, and can offer market-leading legal advice to our clients.
For more information on family law matters, do not hesitate to contact us. Click here to send a message to our team.