Alteration of property interests

The Family Law Act refers to alteration of property interests in s79(4).  The parties must work out the pool of assets whether in a marriage or a de facto relationship and then what orders they require to alter the property interests and divide the property between them.

propertySo, what constitutes property?

Property may include such items as real estate, shares, bank accounts, motor vehicles, boats, jewellery, furniture and furnishings especially if antiques and of great value and even a share of royalties.

In a recent case the trial judge determined that the husband’s retention of a share of royalties in a business venture was a future income stream that he would receive pursuant to a contract with former business partners.  The husband could divest himself of this income stream by sale or assignment of his interest and therefore the royalties constituted property within the meaning of the legislation.

How to determine the value of the property

It is generally not sufficient for the parties to guess at values of the property.  If there is a genuine dispute as to the division of the property and the parties are arguing in court then the judge will require some evidence as to values, such as a market appraisal of the property if real estate or a sworn valuation by an expert in the field.

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