Property valuations for Family Law Court - the importance of specialist expertise

The task of undertaking property valuations that are to be used as evidence within the Family Law Court requires a high degree of critical understanding and expertise on the behalf of a specialised Valuer.

However, for solicitors and individuals currently involved in a Family Court dispute, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what services a specialised Family Law Valuer provides and how they can assist the mediation process. As such, Acumentis has provided below a set of answers to some of the most common questions people might have about Valuers who specialise in working with the Family Law Court.

Frequently Asked Questions

Essentially, the job of a Property Valuer is to conduct an analysis of a property in order to form a professional opinion of its ‘Market Value’. In the context of a Family Court dispute, a Valuer might be called upon to act as an independent party who would accurately determine the value of any Real Estate assets involved in the dispute. This can help to ensure that the value of these assets is split between the involved parties as equitably as possible. 

A Valuer carrying out this type of work can provide a legally binding document, that 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. 

Valuers can sometimes be called upon to serve as an “Expert Witness” during court proceedings, where they might be asked to explain how they reached their conclusion about a property’s value under cross examination. This can often be a stressful experience; and it is critical that Valuers exercise every care and caution when undertaking Family Court work to ensure that every criterion set by the Court is met and ensuring there would be no cause to dispute their findings. Valuers experienced in this specialist field will know the importance of maintaining a calm and fair disposition while communicating with all relevant parties, ensuring that everyone remains fully informed throughout the process.  

In order to provide the most accurate assessment of a property’s value, it is vital that a Valuer be provided with physical access to the property in addition to any relevant information that may assist in the valuation process. As such, the best thing legal professionals and their clients can do to assist a Valuer is to provide them with access to both the property and any relevant information from the very beginning of the engagement. 

Valuers practice in full accordance with the ‘Code of Ethics’ set by the Australian Property Institute (API) and perform their professional duty in line with the ‘API Valuation and Property Standards’ and ‘API Rules of Conduct’.  Any actual or potential ‘Conflict of Interest’ is identified and disclosed at the outset to all parties.  It is the Valuers professional responsibility to remain completely independent and impartial throughout the process and always conduct themselves with honesty, integrity, fairness and honour. 

Within the context of Family Court work specifically, a Valuer is expected to at all times provide an independent viewpoint, no matter which party has engaged them. Valuers specialising in this field are also aware that undertaking this type of work requires empathy and understanding towards all parties involved. Experienced Valuers will strive to show sensitivity at the time of inspection, all while upholding their professional independence to ensure the quality and accuracy of the valuation report. 

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