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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 come together to divide the relationship property they have accumulated over the period of their relationship.  To reach a relationship property division agreement, each party has an obligation to provide the other with full and proper disclosure of all their assets and liabilities.  However, it is not uncommon for one party to be unaware of the full extent of the finances in a relationship or for one party to refuse to provide full disclosure of their assets and liabilities.

If full disclosure of the assets and liabilities involved in the relationship is not provided, then reaching an agreement can become tricky and there can also be a risk that any agreement that is reached could be set aside in the future if one party was not fully informed of the full extent of the party’s relationship property.

What is relationship property?

Relationship property has a wide definition and can include all property each party acquired throughout their relationship, including:

  • The family home, even if it was acquired by one party prior to the relationship
  • The family chattels, even if they were acquired by one party prior to the relationship
  • Property acquired prior to the relationship, in contemplation of the relationship
  • The value of each party’s KiwiSaver or superannuation scheme attributable to the relationship

Application for Pre-commencement Discovery

If your ex-partner is unwilling or refuses to provide disclosure, you can file an application with the Family Court seeking pre-commencement discovery under Rule 140 of the Family Court Rules.  When applying to the Court for assistance, you must establish the following elements:

  1. You are or might be entitled to claim in the Court relief against another person; 
  2. It is impossible or impracticable for you to formulate your application without reference to a document or class of documents; and
  3. There are grounds for a belief that the document or one or more documents of that class may be or may have been in the possession, custody, or power of a person.

Example: You notice your partner is transferring money to an unknown account during your relationship.  You asked them numerous times where the money was going but they would not tell you.  Six months later and you separate.  You and your ex-partner have now engaged lawyers and are trying to resolve your relationship property matters.  Your ex-partner still refuses to tell you any information about this mysterious bank account.  You have no idea how to get information about this bank account... What do you do?  File an application for pre-commencement discovery ordering your ex-partner to provide bank statements for the unknown account.

If you are trying to divide your relationship property with your partner and you are struggling to get full disclosure from them or think they may not be providing you with full disclosure, we can help and assist you in reaching a resolution of your relationship property division, including filing an application for pre-commencement discovery.

If you are seeking advice or have any questions or concerns about this topic, please contact:

Peter Fuscic (Partner)

DDI: 09 306 6746


Vinnie Kumar

DDI: 09 959 0615


© McVeagh Fleming 2024

This article is published for general information purposes only.  Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.

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