There are major problems for our clients trying to settle relationship property issues. Most couples have the family home as their major asset. You would think it would be easy to agree on a price. However, this is not often the case in the current climate.  

Issues  

In the majority of cases at least one party wants to retain the family home. Finance is now easier to obtain with lower interest rates that we have. Sale of the home no longer occurs as much in a breakup of a relationship.  

There typically needs to be a recent valuation done on the family home. That valuation normally needs to be updated every six months, or as agreed. The settlement of relationship property often takes longer than this period of time. In some cases one party is simply not emotionally ready to come to a settlement figure. In others, the parties discuss parenting arrangements first.  

The party out of occupation doesn’t want to accept an “out of date” valuation. In some cases one or many updates of the valuation are required. Faced with a number of valuations, this can cause issues between the parties. The Family Court normally takes the hearing date valuation as the correct one, but has a discretion to take another date as well.  

The solution 

Try to settle your divorce case as close to separation as possible. You are more likely to agree on the value of the family home if you do this. There are likely to be fewer post-separation adjustments, such as occupational rent, mortgage payments and other expenses if you take this approach.  

In our experience, the shorter time frame to settle will reduce your legal fees and preserve your relationship with your ex-partner, but it is also likely to give you a greater chance of continuing your relationship with your client and have a shared care arrangement.   


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