Family Law & Relationship Property

Children who Resist, Refuse or Reject a relationship with their Parent

Children who Resist, Refuse or Reject a relationship with their Parent

Written by:
Jackie Dale
Amber Holdaway
Separating from your spouse or partner is often stressful, complicated, and painful especially when children are involved. Reaching an agreement about how a child's care will be shared can be challenging and deepen conflict between parents if they do not see eye to eye.
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My Ex is hiding assets from me, what can I do?

My Ex is hiding assets from me, what can I do?

Written by:
Vinnie Kumar
Niamh Forgie
At the end of a relationship, both parties must fully disclose their assets and liabilities to divide their property fairly. If one party withholds information, reaching a fair agreement becomes difficult, and any agreement made could be challenged and possibly overturned later.
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Exceptions to equal sharing of relationship property

Exceptions to equal sharing of relationship property

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
Niamh Forgie
Upon separation, it's usually assumed that relationship property will be divided equally unless there's a prenuptial or premarital agreement. However, if there are special circumstances where equal division isn't fair, the court might order a different division to ensure fairness and justice.
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Can bad behaviour cost you during divorce or separation?

Can bad behaviour cost you during divorce or separation?

Written by:
Julia Warrington
When sorting out the monetary side of separation, the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 ("the Act") sets out how property is to be divided for relationships that qualify. It generally aims to divide property (the assets and liabilities including houses, cars, superannuation, mortgage loans etc.) in a way that is “fair”. This means the starting point is that property is divided equally. However, there are some exceptions.
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Maintenance after the end of a relationship

Maintenance after the end of a relationship

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
Niamh Forgie
After separation, one partner may need financial support while they transition to becoming financially independent. Spousal maintenance is separate from child support payments as its focus is on supporting an adult party rather than supporting any children. If a party has made an application for spousal maintenance, they can apply to receive interim maintenance urgently from the other party, to assist them financially in the interim while the final spousal maintenance proceedings are being settled.
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Enforcing a Nikah (an Islamic marriage contract)

Enforcing a Nikah (an Islamic marriage contract)

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
Rosanna Wu and Amber Holdaway
If you and your partner intend to enter into a nikah, it is important to consult with a lawyer to advise you of the possible effects and implications of that agreement and your property rights should you and your partner separate. If you and your partner have already separated and you have entered into a nikah, a lawyer can also advise you on what that means for your relationship property entitlements.
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The importance of Prenuptial Agreements has increased

The importance of Prenuptial Agreements has increased

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
Protecting assets has become an integral aspect of modern relationships, with the growing importance of prenuptial agreements for safeguarding individual interests. In June 2023, the New Zealand Supreme Court issued a significant ruling in the case of Sutton v Bell, which centered on Sections 44 and 26 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 ("PRA"). This decision marks a pivotal shift in the interpretation of key legal provisions governing property rights in relationships.
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Mediating Trust Disputes

Mediating Trust Disputes

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
Niamh Forgie
Countless families across New Zealand place their most valuable assets, such as their property, into a discretionary family trust. However, when a couple separate and each party is a trustee to the same family trust, conflict and disagreement will often arise as to the management and enjoyment of trust assets. Disagreements on internal trust matters have the possibility of turning into time-consuming, expensive and public proceedings in court. Mediation is an alternative solution for settling trust disputes and may be a more advantageous option for parties.
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Separation - What's in a date?

Separation - What's in a date?

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
Vinnie Kumar
When was it over? When to call it quits? When did you say goodbye? Am I separated? What's in a date? In the midst of a relationship breakdown, when you and your former partner are separated is not often a front-of-mind question. However, your separation date can be important information in family law proceedings.
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Setting Aside Relationship Property Contracting Out Agreements

Setting Aside Relationship Property Contracting Out Agreements

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
Niamh Forgie
Entering into a relationship property contracting out agreement ("prenuptial agreement" or "premarital agreement") allows couples to determine together how they would like their separate and shared property divided if separation or death occurs.
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To Vaccinate or Not: Parental Decisions About Paediatric Covid-19 Vaccination

To Vaccinate or Not: Parental Decisions About Paediatric Covid-19 Vaccination

Written by:
Rosanna Wu
Parents have the mutual goal of wanting the best for their child. Naturally, there are disagreements as to what "the best" means. A notably difficult decision has arisen in recent years for parents about whether or not their child is going to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. This is a guardianship issue in family law.
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Travel From Level 3 to Level 2 for Shared Care as of 11.59 pm 28 September 2021

Travel From Level 3 to Level 2 for Shared Care as of 11.59 pm 28 September 2021

Written by:
Alissa Bell
At 3.00 pm on 28 September 2021, the Government announced changes to travel during the current Alert Level 3. Travel across the border from Level 3 into Level 2 has been strictly limited, but the new rules that take effect at 11:59 pm tonight (28 September 2021) now permit travel across the border if one or more of the following situations applies to you:
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Facilitating Day-to-Day Care and Contact Through the Covid-19 Delta Variant Lockdown

Facilitating Day-to-Day Care and Contact Through the Covid-19 Delta Variant Lockdown

Written by:
Alissa Bell
Due to the recent presence of the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant within communities throughout New Zealand, the country has been placed into an Alert Level 4 Lockdown. The stringent lockdown restrictions may have implications for parents who have shared care arrangements, Parenting Orders, or who are involved in Family Court proceedings. This can create an added level of stress and anxiety as parents try to navigate both lockdown rules and day-to-day care of their children.
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Is There Such a Thing as a Conflict Free Separation?

Is There Such a Thing as a Conflict Free Separation?

Written by:
Alissa Bell
A separation doesn't have to be fraught with conflict, including when Lawyers are involved. If you have recently separated and need some assistance with resolving a dispute involving property and/or children you may want to consider doing so under the framework of Collaborative Advocacy.
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Is Your Overseas 'Pre-Nup' Valid in New Zealand?

Is Your Overseas 'Pre-Nup' Valid in New Zealand?

Written by:
Alissa Bell
If you or someone you know has signed a Prenuptial Agreement, Premarital Agreement, Antenuptial Contract or Contracting Out Agreement in a country outside of New Zealand, then you/ they should find out if and how that Agreement applies in New Zealand. Irrespective of where these types of documents are signed, they generally have a similar purpose; that being to determine the status, ownership and value of assets at the start and end of a couple's relationship. But, are they valid when you have moved away from the country of signing?
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How are the Courts Operating During the Covid-19 Lockdown?

How are the Courts Operating During the Covid-19 Lockdown?

Written by:
Craig Andrews
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Right Honourable Helen Winkelmann, has assured the legal profession and members of the public that the Courts will be operational during all Covid-19 alert levels, including lockdown during alert level 4: "Courts are an essential service. New Zealand courts must continue to uphold the rule of law and to ensure that fair trial rights, the right to natural justice and rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act are upheld."
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Is Self-Isolation Pushing you Together or Pulling you Apart?

Is Self-Isolation Pushing you Together or Pulling you Apart?

Written by:
Alissa Bell
Feeling stressed or anxious about how Covid-19 (coronavirus) and New Zealand entering alert level 4 with nationwide lockdowns will affect you and your family members? Times of crisis can result in a push-and-pull effect with our personal relationships. They bring people together – only those in your household! - but difficult times can also lead to difficulties arising in our relationships with our, quite literally, nearest and dearest.
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Family Mediation Services Continue to be Available During Level 4 Alert

Family Mediation Services Continue to be Available During Level 4 Alert

Written by:
Alissa Bell
Amidst the Covid-19 lockdowns initiated by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday 23 March 2020, many Kiwis are feeling stressed and uncertain about their current situation. When issues arise, especially at an unprecedented time like this, it’s often best to talk them out and work together to find positive solutions. If parenting, child welfare and other family issues arise that you need to discuss, we are here to assist.
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Free Online Family Legal Advice Service During Covid-19

Free Online Family Legal Advice Service During Covid-19

Written by:
Alissa Bell
Stocking up on food items, school, restaurant, cinema and non-essential business closures, and plenty of hand-sanitising. The Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the Government’s measures to flatten the curve are affecting our behaviour, and our relationships. Staying at home with our families during this period of nationwide self-isolation can cause issues to arise.
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Changes to Protection Orders From 1 July 2019

Changes to Protection Orders From 1 July 2019

Written by:
Alissa Bell
From 1 July 2019, changes are being made to all Protection Orders, including those made before this date. The Family Violence Act 2018 repeals and replaces the Domestic Violence Act 1995 and modifies the Care of Children Act 2004 as part of ongoing efforts to tackle domestic violence issues in New Zealand with the aim of providing faster, more effective protection for protected persons and increasing accountability and compliance by respondents.
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