As part of any property settlement the first step is to assess and value the assets and liabilities of the parties.

Confusion often seems to arise in relation to how to treat furniture and contents. We often hear – “It’s insured for $50,000; It cost $50,000; Its’ replacement cost is $50,000 – so it must worth $50,000. Right?” WRONG.

The value of an asset for Family Law purposes is its sale price, not any of these other methods. Usually therefore furniture and contents are of limited value. In fact, often we don’t give it a dollar value at all, and trade “piece for piece”. For example, “You can have the fridge, and I’ll have the TV” etc.

Often some items logically flow one way or the other – “You can have your Barry Manilow collection, and I’ll have my Holden memorabilia”.

Then you trade the other pieces one for one, approximating their value. Sometimes there are valuable antiques, or art work, and these must be valued, but usually we can avoid the expense of valuing the furniture and contents, and can negotiate a fair split.

Furniture and contents, of course, need to be considered as part of any property settlement division, but in pure monetary terms, it’s often the least valuable, and therefore it’s not the sort of issue that needs to have significant legal costs spent on.

What’s the lesson from all this?

The important thing to remember is that that no two cases are the same, that the law is complex, and the Courts have a very wide discretion to make decisions.

It’s only when you go into the detail of the matter, and understand that some factors favour one side, and some factors favour the other, that one is able to predict the outcome through the courts.

Don’t rely on friends, family or Google.

It is essential you obtain specialist legal advice from us about your particular circumstances.

Get advice, get it now, get it right, before you go Wrong.

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