Insights & Articles

Separation & Dissolution (Divorce)

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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What are my Options if I Wish to Separate From my Partner During Alert Level 4 Lockdown?

What are my Options if I Wish to Separate From my Partner During Alert Level 4 Lockdown?

Written by:
Alissa Bell
The combination of isolating within one bubble along with additional financial stress, changes to childcare and working from home can bring personal relationships closer or unfortunately, push them apart. Breakdowns in personal relationships can add an additional layer of stress to an already difficult situation. However, it is important to remember that help is available.
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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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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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When is Your House the "Family Home"? / Will my House be Split 50/50?

When is Your House the "Family Home"? / Will my House be Split 50/50?

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
A special status is given to the "family home" in relationship property disputes under the relevant legislation, the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 ("the Act").
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Are You Getting Your Fair Share of Relationship Property Upon a Break Up?

Are You Getting Your Fair Share of Relationship Property Upon a Break Up?

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 ("the Act") applies to marriages, civil unions and de facto relationships. Generally under the Act, at the end of one of these relationships, the parties receive a 50:50 share of all the relationship property. This usually includes the home, family chattels, and all other property acquired during the relationship. However the Court does have the power to award a lump sum payment or order the transfer of relationship property from one party in the relationship to the other under Section 15 of the Act.
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Dispelling Some Of The Myths About Property Division On Separation

Dispelling Some Of The Myths About Property Division On Separation

Written by:
Peter Fuscic
Most people who have been through a separation would agree that it is a difficult and stressful time. This can be exacerbated when there is confusion or misunderstanding about what property is classed as relationship property and what property is classed as separate property. The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (“the Act”) provides a code for how property is to be divided on separation for couples who are married, in a civil union partnership or de facto/same sex relationship.
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