Residential property prices have risen sharply in the past 12
months - up 13.1 per cent in Sydney, and 4.7 per cent in Melbourne
and, as a consequence, made relationship breakdowns even more
The rise in property prices, including increased rent, often
means that parties are unable to secure alternate accommodation and
vacate the matrimonial home. As a result many separating couples
are being forced to remain living 'separated under the one
roof', leading to increased tensions between parties at an
already stressful time. These ongoing tensions can make it
difficult for parties to achieve an amicable agreement and it's
not uncommon for parties to then incur otherwise avoidable legal
fees and court costs.
The price boom is advantageous for parties who are able to agree
to sell the property, however it has given warring parties more to
Often one party may seek to keep the property, usually if there
are young children or children completing their HSC, however for
current property prices mean that they can't afford to
"buy out" the other party's share of the
In a recent article Simon Doak, senior sales agent at McGrath in
Edgecliff in Sydney's eastern suburbs, stated that clients in
the process of splitting up are regularly surprised by how much
their family home has grown in value and went on further to state
that parties "often tried to buy each other out but the
growth, particularly this year, means there's too much of a
Even if the parties agree that one party can "buy out"
the other, there's often dispute about the property's
value. Unless an agreement can be achieved an expert valuation
needs to be obtained.
The steadily increasing property prices have also seen some
parties deliberately delaying proceedings to capitalise on the
growth of the value of the property. When determining a matter, the
Court is required to take the value of the respective assets and
liabilities into consideration as at the date of a hearing. In
circumstances where current delays in the system mean that it can
take anywhere between 12 months to three years for a matter to be
heard, this can mean a significant difference in value.
Some would also attribute the decline in the number of Divorce
Applications and Property Settlement Applications filed with the
Court to parties delaying separation to capitalise on the
With property prices not appearing to cool down anytime soon,
many more couples may be faced with increasing complications
negotiating not only the breakdown of their relationship but also
the property market.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Sect.117 can deal with false statements and knowingly making false allegations of violence could justify a costs order.
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