Hi, I’m Sarah Walker. I’m a family lawyer in the family law team at Turnbull Hill Lawyers. In many family law property matters, an accountant plays a really important role in a number of areas. You can really assist your client with their obligation to make full and frank financial disclosure. Each party to the family law property settlement is under a duty of disclosure to each other to provide full and frank financial disclosure.
As a party’s accountant, you have access to a lot of this financial information, and as such, with your client’s consent can provide that directly to their lawyer. Another area where you may add value is where there is a business entity, and where there may be a dispute as to the value of that business. Rather than proceeding down the path of a formal joint valuation that can cost in excess of $10,000, you may be able to assist the parties by providing some guidance around what the business may be valued. If this is accepted by both parties, this adds real value to your client’s matter.
In many family law property settlements, there’s often a transfer of property or shares, or an interest in a business. As we’re not placed to give financial advice as to the tax implications of such transactions, we refer our clients to their accountant to obtain advice, so that they can enter into an agreement whereby they know that they’ll be protected from any tax implications.
These are some areas where you can add extra value to your clients, and assist them in their family law property settlement. Just keep in mind that if you’re acting for both parties previously as their accountant, there may be some conflict that could potentially arise should you act on behalf of both parties in giving advice on their family law property settlement.
If you have any clients that are separating and might need some family law advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers.