Property Settlement - True Value

04/06/2013

Watson & Watson received instructions after a matter had been listed for hearing where approximately $1 million had been spent by the parties for legal and forensic accounting fees. The proceedings were not ready for hearing. One party in particular was more focused on attacking the other which in effect was self-destructive to the relationship and conducive to a prompt resolution. A major problem in the resolution was a misconception as to the total asset pool available for distribution and in particular, this arose because of a misconception as to the value of a business and the business being “valued” at more than 50% of the net pool.

Given the immediate reasons including the bitterness of the breakup, the business was very much worthless. In all those circumstances there was little prospect of settlement without a reality check in particular as to the real value of the business. Once there was a “reality check” after considerable hard work the matter was resolved on the basis that our client receive the business. The resolution was on the basis of acceptance of a very much reduced valuation for the business only after the party contending for a very high value of the business obtained a second opinion. Without the settlement the matter would have proceeded and there would have been the need for a hearing of many days may be weeks which would have reduced the available assets for distribution to a very minimal figure.

We encourage our clients to be realistic and consider the realities and the costs not only financially but emotionally to an ongoing battle which is inappropriate in most if not all cases. The real issue is how to achieve a circuit breaker to achieve a realistic look at the distributions and resolution. We have had many years experience in resolution of these matters and very significant family disputes involving millions of dollars and commercial disputes and being involved in hundreds of cases most of which have been resolved and many having been resolved through mediation. We do not accept blindly assertions as to valuations (by the party or valuers) in particular of a parties interest in business and/or Trust.

 

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