…owned and operated by husband’s family dismissed – composition of family group of companies uncertain
In Wheeler & Loggins  FedCFamC1F 66 (17 February 2023) Harper J heard a wife’s application for valuations of properties owned and operated by the husband’s family.
The husband had financial interests in corporations and trusts associated with his family, which the wife asserted were worth up to $70 million ().
While the parties largely agreed on which real estate, companies and trusts should be valued, there was dispute about properties in which the wife conceded the husband had no proprietary interest. Her case was that there was a complex group in which the husband owned a substantial interest.
Harper J said (from ):
“…[T]he essential question here, which helps determine what property should be valued, is what legal and equitable property interests, according to ordinary legal and equitable principles, are owned by the wife and husband. Asserting a percentage interests in a large group of amorphously defined entities … is not very helpful … What needs to be demonstrated … is what falls within the alleged ‘[Q Group]’ and what a given family member’s specific interests are…
 …[I]n my view [the current evidence] does not presently justify valuation of the disputed items. They may indirectly constitute a financial resource of the husband, but on no view … can it be said the assets of the disputed items are a direct financial resource of the husband…
 …The wife … conceded … that before any valuation … could be undertaken … the cooperation of third-party owners would be essential…
 …After the agreed valuation process is undertaken, if the single expert identifies the need to engage in valuation of further third-party assets, it is possible that the question may need to be revisited, and the result of this application should not be taken as precluding a further application in the event information of that nature comes to light.”
The wife’s application was otherwise dismissed.
Craig Nicol and Keleigh Robinson are co-editors of The Family Law Book. Both are accredited specialists in family law (Queensland and Victoria, respectively). The Family Law Book is a one-volume loose-leaf and online family law service (thefamilylawbook.com.au).