You sexy thing - new property in the 21st century

Speakers: Jade Lattimore of Greenstone Legal, Bryce Menzies of Marshalls + Dent Lawyers and Joe Box of Grant Thornton

With the ever increasing advancement in the “online” world, contemporaneously the definition of “Property” in Family Law Matters as we once knew it, is changing face. No longer does property end at the house, car, boat, cash, mum and dad companies and superannuation.

New skills are required for lawyers to understand the online world and the issues it brings to property settlements.
Some of these are:

  1. Our currency is changing, for example, crypto currencies such as Bitcoin.Currently in Melbourne 49 establishments are operating in Bitcoin and in Sydney only 24 – this is set to increase in the foreseeable future in all States and Territories of Australia. The difficulty is how to find it? Cryptocurrencies are largely anonymous, have no borders or regulations, and the value of which can dramatically change overnight, being linked to supply and demand;
  2. The way we retain property is changing as source documents will not always be available;
  3. The definition of property is expanding to include but not limited to Apps, in game accounts, domain names, crowdfunding hobbies, the number of followers on social media (Instagram) and Pokémon Go accounts; and
  4. The rise and fall of property can be spectacular, for example, an App could be worth millions one day and nothing the next. The Bitcoin in January 2011 was worth nothing, however sky rocketed to $1,200USD in September 2013 and as at 16 September 2016 was valued at $620USD. Recent Domain name sales include ($30,081), ($137,501) and ($90,585).

New business models such as local trends “Lorna Jane” and “I Quit Sugar”, as well as tech giants such as Facebook and Snapchat can have hugely divergent values based upon what time a property settlement occurs. In 1996, when Yahoo went public, it was valued at $848MUSD, and in 2000 it was valued at $125BUSD. In 2008 Yahoo rejected Microsoft’s takeover of $44BUSD and in 2016 it was sold to Verizon for only $4.8BUSD.

Valuation Methodology is now also set to include “market penetration presence and IP” and the considerations of the value as to “future possibilities”.

For Family Lawyers the timing of the property settlement will be everything moving into this new age.


Victoria Treloar

5 December 2016