Date of valuation in Family Law Disputes
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the majority of cases settle out of court. This is good news for separated parties as they manage to come to resolution relating to their property matters without resorting to long-standing and expensive litigation.
A common question asked by separating parties – on what date should my assets be valued for Family Law negotiations?
In the case of Woodland and Todd the Full Court of the Family Court decided that as a starting point the Court must value the assets at the date of settlement or, in the case of contested litigation, the trial date.
Importantly, however, the Court then went on to say that: “However, and perhaps more significantly it would generally be necessary to the Court to acquaint itself with the changes to the composition and the values of the property pool so that post-separation contributions can be assessed”.
In other words, if assets increase or decrease in value between the date of separation and the date of settlement or trial – it is up to the Court to assess the relevance of the conduct of parties to the decrease or increase in the value of assets in determining what is a fair settlement for all.