What’s Messier Than A Divorce? The Property Valuations You May Need To Do After. Here’s Why

Marriage confers both legal and practical benefits to either spouse and for this reason, many individuals favour the institution. Unfortunately, this union is never guaranteed to last, and when it ends, issues regarding asset division may arise. Property valuation is one of the assessments that may be conducted during such instances in order to gather the data required to resolve the disagreement.

What Is a Family Law Valuation?

Family law valuation (also referred to as a matrimonial valuation) is carried out where there is a separation of two parties through:

  • divorce,
  • breakdown of a marriage or,
  • defacto arrangement.

A family law valuation aims to dissolve any disputes which may arise as to the current value of a property(s). In some circumstances both parties may agree to appoint a single valuer to act on their behalf, or each party may choose to independently appoint a valuer to act exclusively for them.

When to Obtain Matrimonial Valuation

Matrimonial valuations must be conducted by valuers who are trained and qualified to be expert witnesses. Thus, whenever you disagree with your partner on how to divide what you own, these individuals can conduct valuations, gather data, and subsequently give you accurate information on the value of the properties. If your marriage has broken down and you are unable to agree regarding such matters, then it may be wise to employ the services of a valuer.

In addition, it is important to keep in mind that according to Australian law, any property that is acquired by spouses before marriage cannot be affected during the union. Nevertheless, once a dispute crops up, it may be put on the table and subjected to division or even re-allocation where necessary. It’s also worth noting that any case regarding property settlement has to be filed within a year from the time the marriage ends.

Matrimonial Disputes can be Complicated

Although courts are required to follow section 75(2) and section 79 of the Family Law Act when handling property matters related to matrimonial disputes, such proceedings are never straightforward. They are often hampered by a lot of complications. One of the key problems family courts have to deal with in this regard is how to translate the contributions of each party towards the marriage into a monetary reward.

For instance, a wife may want to be compensated not for having invested financially in the union, but for having given moral and emotional support to her husband and children, and devoting herself to bringing up the children over an extended period. Carrying out an assessment of the man’s input in such cases may be easy because all it would require is a look at his physical assets and payslip. This may be very hard in his partner’s case though, and it may get even more complex where huge sums of money are involved. While the Family Law Act makes provisions for different marriage issues, it doesn’t factor in special contributions.

Australian Law on Property Settlement

Matters involving property settlement after divorce or marriage breakdown are resolved based on the requirements of the Family Law Act 1975, with the specific rules being the Family Law Rules 2004. Even so, spouses who are looking to resolve financial cases are required to go for dispute resolution before filing applications in court. While there are rules that control how settlements should be done, working out an agreement without involving the courts may be more beneficial at times.

If you and your partner manage to settle things through this process, there will be no need to take the case to trial. However, if all fails, you can file an application. In doing so, you will be required to follow particular procedures which will usually include completing forms and paying a filing fee. You also need to hire a lawyer so that you are sure to do things the correct way (not to mention, an attorney will give you better chances of winning the case).

Other than a local court, the Federal court and the Family Court of Australia are the legal institutions placed in charge of handling property settlements. Your case may therefore be heard in any of these courts based on the value of the assets in contest. In relation to this, family courts charge a higher fee than the Federal Magistrate Services do. Thus, if your case is less complex and involves only a small sum of money, it may be wise to go for the latter rather than the former. A solicitor can help you decide on the most practical alternative in line with the situation you have at hand.