Reading time: 4 minutes

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (the Act) determines how to divide property in the event of separation of a married or de facto couple. The courts will consider the general principles of family law when reviewing a property settlement dispute, focusing on the parties’ financial contributions, non-financial contributions and future requirements. 

One of the first steps before a property settlement, however, is to identify the parties’ assets and their worth. Property valuation will help determine how the court should divide the assets in the event of separation. Below, we will explore three common scenarios when it comes to property valuation and the process of valuing property.

1. Parties Agree on the Value of the Property

If two parties in a property settlement dispute agree with the value of the property, the court will accept the agreed valuation. It is the best case scenario when seeking orders from the court. Parties can come to an agreed valuation of the property by consulting the market and looking at similar houses in the same location to determine value. Each party may also seek further advice from real estate agents in the form of appraisals.

2. Parties Cannot Agree on the Value of the Property

If the parties cannot come to an agreed value of the property, they may seek the advice of a valuer. The court will then require the valuer to provide a sworn valuation in the form of an affidavit which the parties can file in court.

The party seeking the valuer’s advice must pay for their services. Alternatively, they can come to an agreement with the other party so that they can split the costs equally. Although there is no set rule, the court may also make an order to divide the costs of the valuer evenly between the parties.

3. Parties Cannot Agree on a Valuer

Sometimes parties may not agree on which valuer to engage for the property valuation. If this is the case, the parties can either:

  1. Apply for an appointment of a valuer through an independent institution (e.g. through the Australian Property Institute).
  2. Request that the court appoints a valuer.
  3. Engage separate valuers. The valuers will need to attend a conference before any hearing in the court and prepare a report as to the issues discussed. The court will use this report to examine any issues that remain in disagreement.
  4. Allow the court to decide on the value of the property after both parties provide evidence, including reports from valuers if available.

How Are Assets Valued?

The court does not provide a method as to how a valuer should value assets. Qualified valuers should, however, be able to provide details of the factors they take into consideration when coming to a valuation.

Valuers tend to value an asset based on its market value (i.e. the amount a willing buyer would be ready to pay for the asset). If the parties agree to a property valuation, usually the court will not question how they achieved the number. If the parties do not agree to a property valuation, the court will likely take into consideration the method at which the valuer came to make the valuation.

What is the Process of Valuation?

The Act and the Family Law Rules set out specific requirements for the ordering of valuation reports. The parties must take this into consideration when they provide instructions to the valuer. Lawyers can typically assist in appointing independent valuers and ensuring that parties obtain valuation reports in compliance with the Act.

***

If you have any questions or need assistance drafting a binding financial agreement that addresses property settlement, get in touch with LegalVision’s business lawyers on 1300 544 755.

Webinars

Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Online
Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards