Divorce and separation are traumatic events for the entire family and the highly emotional nature of these circumstances requires the compassionate, but clearheaded expert legal advice you will receive from the experienced team at McVeagh Fleming.

Divorce and Marriage Dissolution

An application for an order dissolving marriage (commonly known as a divorce) can be made after two years of separation. Applications for a dissolution of marriage can be brought by either one spouse alone or by both spouses jointly. We can advise on the practicalities of each option and prepare and submit the necessary application to the Family Court on your behalf.


Separating from a spousal partner is a difficult process. Many clients who come to see us are not sure they wish to separate. We can offer advice about counselling through the Family Court, a service that many clients find invaluable. If separation proceeds, we can advise on the division of assets under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, on the care of children, and, if appropriate, on the dissolution of your marriage.

Section 21 Agreement

Section 21 Agreements can be made at any time. Sometimes called Relationship Property Agreements or 'Pre-Nuptial Agreements', Contracting Out Agreements are used when couples entering into a relationship want to make certain assets, such as those acquired through inheritance, are protected in the event of a separation. The team at McVeagh Fleming understand the sensitive nature of Section 21 Agreements. The team is here to advise you on all aspects with discretion, giving you clear, pragmatic advice and a sound outcome.

Spousal Maintenance

Upon separation, spousal maintenance may be available to a spouse or partner who cannot support themselves due to the roles during the relationship. Spousal maintenance issues are often resolved at the same time as those relating to the care of children and relationship property. They can take the form of payment for the interim, past and future needs of the spouse or partner. We can advise the likelihood of a successful application for maintenance on the duration for which the maintenance will be payable and the possible quantum of the payment.


Parties who separate sometimes wish to move away from their current home, whether within New Zealand or overseas. This can be for various reasons, such as work opportunities and extended family support.

Understandably a proposed relocation is often opposed by the parent who remains in their current locality. Relocation can be a lengthy and complicated process. Under the Care of Children Act 2004, the child's best interests are paramount, usually meaning the child has contact regularly with both parents. We can advise on the prospects of success should an application for relocation be desired. We can also advise on the availability of an Order Preventing Removal of a child if there are concerns that a child will be taken overseas and not returned to New Zealand.

Recent Insights

July 2024

Relocation Disputes

Considering relocating with your child to a different city or country? It's essential to understand that such a move requires the consent of the other parent. The decision about where a child lives is a significant guardianship matter, and both parents must agree on it.
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March 2024

Can bad behaviour cost you during divorce or separation?

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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November 2023

The importance of Prenuptial Agreements has increased

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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