If you are currently going through a separation or divorce, our engagement in family law matters may be as:
- Expert appointment by one party only – engaged by one party. The appointment is usually made in writing or by email, however if you call our office, we can confirm our appointment by responding with an engagement letter stating same. If there is a Court Order issued or where we are to be appointed as a single expert, it usually infers a joint instruction, see below.
- Single expert – engaged by both parties (including by Court Order). Under these circumstances, if you are legally represented, it is usual for the parties’ legal representatives to sign and send a joint letter of instruction to our office. If you are self-represented, it is formality that you and the other party provide a joint letter of instruction or written confirmation to state that you both agree to engage our services.
- Shadow expert – engaged by one party to critique the expert report prepared by a single expert or opposing party. Under these circumstances, you may wish to have a single expert’s report critiqued and/or seek our opinion in addition to.
- Consulting role – engaged by one of the parties to assist in the identification of assets or an aspect of the valuation process.
For matters with a different purpose other than family law, it is best to contact our office by telephone or email, providing instructions for the services required – any of our approachable team members are ready and available to assist in this regard.
For family law valuations, our fees generally start at $4,500 +/- $500 plus GST based on one trading entity with a turnover of up to $1 million.
If there is more than one entity, the cost will be discounted per entity.
Thereafter, our fees are dependent on a number of factors including turnover as an indication of the size of the entity, the number of entities to be valued and the quality of information provided.
Any additional service requested (including answering formal questions received about report, expert witness services) will be charged at our professional rates.
For valuation services other than for the purpose of family law, our fees generally start higher due to the business(es) being valued having a higher turnover and the quality of information being more accessible in most cases, resulting in a more in-depth report provided.
For forensic consulting services other than valuations, including for the purpose of family law, the matters can vary greatly, therefore our fees are charged at our professional rates. Please contact our office for a quote.
When engaged in family law matters or as an expert witness in other matters, our conduct is governed under expert witness rules and ultimately the duty of the expert witness is to the court, and in particular to impartially assist the court with matters that are within the expert witness’s knowledge and capability. Put simply, we do not advocate for any party and these rules apply at each stage of your legal process.
When engaged in a joint instruction, any correspondence to our office must be transparent for all parties involved (ie any emails sent to our office will be required to include the other parties) and best kept to a written format.
For further details regarding our role, please refer to Part 15.2 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 and Part 15.5 of the Family Law Rules 2004. Your legal representative will be able to assist with any queries you have also.
Generally, we destroy any documents received that are older than ten years. Our policy on confidentiality is that we will not disclose any information relating to your matter to any third party without your consent, unless required by law or professional standards. You may provide us with permission to disclose your confidential information in certain circumstances, or place conditions on the disclosure of certain confidential information. However, our files may be subject to review as part of the quality review program of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia which monitors the compliance of members with the professional standards. These reviews are also subject to strict confidentiality. If requested, our files relating to your engagement will be made available under this program. We will advise you should this occur.
The information that we generally request to prepare a valuation report starts with the following:
- Details of the business (background, days and hours of operation, website, products/services provided etc).
- Financial statements of the business for the years ended 30 June XX to most current.
- Clients and $ sales per annum of top 5 clients for the last two recent financial years.
- Suppliers and $ purchases per annum of top 5 suppliers for the last two recent financial years.
- Copy of aged trade debtors and creditors listing for the last two recent financial years.
- Details of salaries, superannuation and other benefits paid to the owners and associated persons during the last four recent financial years.
- Details of any planned capital (plant and equipment) expenditure in the short to medium term.
- Listing and details of employee entitlements for the last two recent financial years.
- Business plans OR owners’ views of strengths and weaknesses of the business.
- Details of business premises leased, key terms.
- A list of main competitors.
- Details of any key commercial contracts in place for the last two recent financial years.
- Details of borrowings in place – facilities, security, term, etc.
- Details of any contingent assets/liabilities (e.g. current or pending legal proceedings)
- Details of any unusual transactions in the last 3 years.
- Any other information considered relevant by the owners/parties
At this point it is your opportunity to provide as much detail as possible.
In family law matters, aside from where it is not a joint instruction, we do not have much contact with the parties except through their legal representatives. We are usually not provided with the contact details of the parties. Where we are instructed to contact the parties directly, our responsibility to the court dictates that we document any conversations and provide it to all parties. Unsubstantiated allegations are outside of our scope.
In matters of family law, occasionally there are allegations made by a party regarding business transactions. We request the evidence that would support the allegations, however, in the case of a joint instruction, for the most part it is out of our scope to investigate or make comment, unless it is included in our instructions to do so.
For the most part, we do not need to see the business premises if detailed information is provided to our office of the business operations, or if the business is not reliant on its location. For valuation purposes, our interest is in the key details of the lease, and/or if the property is owned by a related party, then we request a commercial rent appraisal or property valuation to be prepared by an independent property valuer. We are not property valuers.
We have prepared a number of these reports for Lawyers representing clients diagnosed with asbestos related diseases. We have then gone on to prepare reports for loss of dependency in matters where the client has unfortunately passed away from their illness.
The information that we generally request to prepare these reports start with the following:
- Statement of Claim
- Income tax returns of the Claimant for the last four years
Our fees are usually around $3,000 to $5,000 plus GST depending on how extensive the report is.
The above also applies for work related injuries and TAC matters.
Our forensic services include, but are not limited to:
- Wastage and Addback determinations
- Review and/or reconciliation of superannuation entitlements in a private business
- Analysis of unsecured personal loan accounts in a private business
- Review of bank statements for undisclosed revenue
- Preparation of loan repayment schedules according to loan agreement terms
Our fees in these types of matters can vary greatly, therefore our fees are charged at our professional rates. Please contact our office for our current rates or a cost estimate. To assist with an estimate of cost, it is best to come prepared with a clear scope of instructions, eg investigations require the period of time we are to review, the types of transactions to be investigated etc. We can also assist you in determining the scope of works required when you contact our office.