Family law property valuation explained

Separation or divorce is one of life’s most stressful and emotional events.

When going through separation or divorce it is likely that a family home or other property is the most valuable asset and it is vital that the division of property assets is equitable.

Here at Acumentis, we have supported thousands of Australians through their separation by providing property valuation information and insight that has enabled them to achieve successful property outcomes.

Our national team of certified property valuers undergo rigorous family law accreditation and training.

The team have answered some commonly asked questions to assist in navigating this process.

What is a family law valuation?

A family law valuation is a valuation of property carried out where two parties are separating, either through a divorce or the dissolving of a defacto arrangement.

Some couples may think that they can use a real estate appraisal, the purchase price of the property or the valuation undertaken for the bank when they purchased the property.

These methods are likely to provide values that are vastly different. They could be out of date or over inflated. The outcome may make this more difficult to reach a compromise figure and lead to further dispute over value.

By engaging a certified property valuer experienced in family law valuations you will receive an independent and unbiased property valuation that contains the current fair market value after considering various important market factors.

When is a family law valuation required?

If property settlement during separation or divorce is amicable, a valuation – whilst not required for court purposes – can still assist with settlement.  If there is dispute over the property value then it is likely that an independent value will be required to reach a successful property settlement.

These valuations are also undertaken to administer deceased estates and during transfer of property within a family.

In our experience having a clear equitable value can often save both parties a lot of time, money and angst.

Who appoints and pays for the valuation?

In the case of family law a single expert witness (a certified practicing valuer, registered by the Australian Property Institute) is appointed and instructed jointly by both parties. Rules in the Federal Circuit and Family Court (FCFCA) require that evidence about the value of a property be given by a single expert witness. This assists in minimising costs and maximising efficiency. The value provided by the single expert is accepted by the Court as evidence.

On the other hand, each party may independently appoint a valuer to act exclusively for them. In this case each party will need to apply to the Court to accept the evidence given by their valuer.  This approach is likely to be more costly and potentially a longer process to reach agreement.

What is involved in a family law valuation?

A physical property inspection will be undertaken by the valuer to gather information and review the property.

The valuer will then carry out a process to determine the market value of the property usingan appropriate methodology and considering factors like comparisons or recent sales evidence and yield analysis.

A detailed valuation report will be supplied containing photos and descriptions of the property and details of their analysis. This document is legally binding and gives the best possible indication of what a given property would sell for without the parties having to go through the sale process to determine this.

The team of Family Law experts at Acumentis understand the requirements and criteria set by the Court for family law valuation. Numerous team members are experienced in serving as an Expert Witness during court proceedings and all are committed to achieving successful property settlements with professionalism and sensitivity.

Reach out to discuss how we can assist you with your property needs.

Ernest van Zyl
Manager Property Advisory Services
— Brisbane Property Valuers
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