by Tony Carter
In July this year, together with founding partner of Lambourne Partners, Scott Lucas, I had the privilege of being invited as a keynote speaker for the Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association 30th Annual Family Law Conference.

As always, the speakers were insightful and thought-provoking, however, the paper delivered by Her Honour Justice Brasch in particular stuck with me. Justice Brasch spoke about Family Reports, a specific type of expert report used in Family Law matters, but this prompted me to think about the role of experts more generally and how our reports are relied upon in Family Law matters.

Expert reports play a pivotal role in assisting the courts in making informed decisions that profoundly impact the lives of individuals and families. These reports are invaluable tools that provide objective, professional insights into various aspects of Family Law cases, ensuring that judgments are made based on credible evidence and expert opinion.

How Is Property Split In Family Law Matters?

In cases involving the division of property, forensic accountants and business valuers are often called upon to provide expert reports, mostly in the form of single expert reports. These reports help the Court determine the value of assets, liabilities, and financial resources of the parties involved. They assist in achieving an equitable distribution of property, ensuring that each party receives a fair share of the assets accumulated during the marriage or de facto relationship.

For these reasons, quality is the foundation of any expert report.

Features Of Quality Expert Reports In Family Law Property Settlements

Export reports should be accurate, comprehensive and unbiased. Key aspects of a high-quality report include:

  • Objectivity: The report must maintain an impartial stance, providing an unbiased analysis of the facts and circumstances relevant to the case. Objectivity is crucial in ensuring fairness and justice.
  • Thoroughness: A quality report delves into the issue at hand with a meticulous examination of evidence, research and expert analysis. A superficial report can lead to incomplete or unjust decisions.
  • Clarity: The report must be well-structured and easy to understand. Clear and concise explanations and arguments are essential for the court to make sense of the complex issues in family law cases.
  • Expertise: The report should reflect the author’s expertise in the relevant field. This expertise lends credibility to the report’s findings and recommendations.

All too often a subpar expert report will delay or prevent an equitable conclusion to a Family Law matter, drawing out a process that is likely stressful and costly. On the other hand, a quality report from an experienced and impartial expert will provide an important piece to the puzzle of navigating a Family Law matter.

How We Can Help

If you or your client are going through a separation and are unsure of the valuation of the family assets or the taxation implications of the settlement agreement, our business valuation and forensic experts would be pleased to discuss how an expert report may assist.  To get in touch, contact our business valuation specialist, Tony Carter, below or call 02 4969 6600.

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