Family Law valuation case in Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia


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Ms Gare and Mr Farlow were married for 10 years, at the beginning of which they owed assets including a business and several properties.[1]

During the trial in 2022 in a Family Law property valuation case, the court decided that the net assets are to be divided in shares of 66 per cent to Ms Gare and 34 per cent to Mr Farlow. Mr Farlow received one real property, certain items of personal property and a cash sum of $410,542 paid by Ms Gare. While Ms Gare received one real property, and an incorporated business and items of personal property. Ms Gare operates F Pty Ltd (the business) where she is employed as a worker and manager.

On appeal, Ms Gare argued that her business was overvalued by an adversarial expert adduced by Mr Farlow and the cash sum she had to pay to him was greater than it should be.

Two adversarial experts had different business valuation of the business. Two of these experts were a forensic accountant Mr G who was appointed to prepare a valuation of the business on behalf of Ms Gare and Mr H a property and business valuer on behalf of Mr Farlow.

Mr H valued the business at $429,500 while Mr G was indecisive of the value of the business, and at the end concluded that the business was worth nothing.

The court found that it if the business was long-standing, secure, profitable, and attractive enough for the wife to retain, the business would not be worth nothing and dismissed this ground of appeal.

Hence the trial judge affirmed that there was no error that has been made by the primary judge in relying on Mr Farlow’s expert witness evidence regarding business valuation and found it was much more persuasive and consistent compared to Ms Gare’s expert that had fluctuation estimations from $56,948 to $73,057 then admitting it was worth nothing. Therefore, the value of the business remains to be at $429,500.

The wife also asserted that the contributions of $106,682 (the sum paid to her father for repayment of loans) be added back to the asset pool have failed to give her credit in the evaluation of the parties’ respective contributions for having provided it.

On appeal, the court rejected this ground of appeal. Ms Gare admitted during the trial that she has put aside the sum of $106,682 from revenue generated by her business and the judge acknowledged this that the business itself must also be taken into account as part of the wife’s initial contribution to the parties’ assets.

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About Rowan Skinner

Rowan Skinner is a highly skilled family lawyer with over 35 years of experience across various legal roles and jurisdictions. Rowan specialises in resolving family law disputes such as divorce, financial settlements, child custody and domestic violence cases. Through his diverse and extensive experience, Rowan has a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances involved in family law. Rowan is a skilled negotiator and litigator who follows a compassionate and client-focused approach which prioritises helping you navigate what can be an emotional and challenging time.