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Property Division – What is Joint Property?

A common misunderstanding in property settlements is that is only joint assets which form part of the property pool for division. Irrespective of the name assets are held in, all assets are considered to be joint assets until the point where final property settlement occurs.

So what can be included in a property division?

The usual assets of parties include:

  • Real estate, including the family home, investment properties, vacant land or farm land;
  • Bank accounts, including those held individually, jointly between the parties and even jointly held with other people;
  • Superannuation, including self-managed superannuation funds;
  • Business interests;
  • Shares, including in publicly listed companies and private companies;
  • Interests in a Family Trust;
  • Household contents such as furniture;
  • Motor vehicles;
  • Boats;
  • Jewellery;
  • Artwork;
  • Overseas assets including real estate and bank accounts;
  • Collectibles such as coins, comic book collections, figurines etc;
  • Precious metals such as gold and silver;
  • Hardware tools;
  • Wine and alcohol collections.

At times, there can be items of sentimental value that are included in property divisions.  But how do you put a price on these items?

The Family Law Courts consider the resale or market value of items rather than the purchase price.  This is to ensure that if a party is retaining an item and they wish to sell it, that the estimated value is what they can achieve if sold at market price.

If there is a dispute in relation to the value of an item, the item is either valued or sold.  This is to ensure that the first step in family law property settlement is achieved, namely to identify the items to prepare a balance sheet.

There are valuers who are able to value almost every type of item in family law property disputes.  It is important that any valuer be jointly appointed to avoid any suggestion of bias.  Alternatively, the parties may decide that if neither wishes to keep the item that it be sold and that way the market can dertemine the value of the item.

But what about items that cannot always be sold, such as pets?

Pets are an interesting category of item as most people consider family pets to be just that, part of the family and not divisible.  The Family Law Courts can and have made orders in relation to family pets however when considering the costs associated with litigation, it is always advisable to try and reach an agreement outside of court particularly when pets are considered by the Court as more of an item of property rather than as a family member.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your pet, here are some things to consider:

  1. Who originally purchased the pet?
  2. Whose name is the pet registered?
  3. Who pays for the pet’s upkeep?
  4. Who will have the ability to care for the pet after separation?

Addressing these questions may assist in reaching an amicable resolution.  There are cases where parties have agreed to share the care of a pet and this can always be an option.

If you are unsure about how your assets are likely to be divided in a property division, call us at Lewis Family Lawyers today and we can discuss your concerns.

Memberships and Associations

Lewis Family Lawyers

Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au

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Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au