Separation and Divorce
Lundons Law can assist at the beginning of a relationship by protecting your property, or when dividing property following a separation or divorce. We will negotiate and draft a Relationship Property Agreement for the division of property. And, we can represent you in the Family Court.
A “prenuptial agreement” or “premarital agreement” is usually called a contracting-out agreement. It records how relationship property will be divided if you separate or your marriage, civil union or de facto relationship ends. A property agreement can be used at the beginning of a relationship to protect your property generally, or for specific assets such as family heirlooms and inheritances.
We can help you decide if you need a contracting out agreement, and advise on how to best protect everyone in a sensitive and straightforward manner.
Separation or Divorce
Separating from your spouse or partner represents a difficult time in your life. We recognise and respect that separation and divorce are not just about “property”.
Whether you need help with a separation agreement, a separation order or splitting shared property when your marriage, civil union or de facto relationship ends, Lundons Law can assist.
We are experienced in guiding people through the separation and divorce process in a practical manner. Our goal is to assist in early and effective solutions that let people get on with their lives. Where possible, we help you settle matters out of court. However, we also have robust court experience and will represent you there when needed.
Contact Simon to discuss relationship property, separation or divorce.
Frequently Asked Questions
My relationship has ended – what do I do now?
You and your ex-partner don’t have to do anything formal when you separate. You can sort out most things yourselves if your relationship ends.
If you can’t reach an agreement, Lundons Law can help.
“Dissolving a marriage or civil union” is the legal term for divorce. The Family Court can end your marriage or civil union by making a Dissolution Order. You can ask the Family Court to legally end your marriage or civil union if: you have been living apart for two years or more and if one of you live in New Zealand. Lundons Law can guide you through this process.
Dividing relationship property
The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 applies to a wide range of relationships. Some relationships, however, do not qualify under the act. For example, a de facto relationship of less than three years.
But, those relationships still need to resolve the division of relationship property. In some circumstances, applications to the Family Court can be made. For example, where one partner has made substantial contributions to the de facto relationship, and not making an order would cause serious injustice.
Lundons Law is experienced in the division of relationship property, always with the aim of achieving an early and effective solution to let you get on with your life.
Contact Simon for advice.
What counts as relationship property?
The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 applies to a wide range of items of financial value that you gained during the relationship. Items covered under the act are divided equally when a relationship ends. Property that is outside the act is separate property and ownership stays with the partner who owns it.
Generally, relationship property includes:
- the family home and contents (but not taonga or heirlooms), other land or buildings and vehicles
- salary or wages earned during the relationship, insurance pay outs, superannuation you received, rents and other income from joint property
- any property gained when you were in the relationship or when you had the relationship in mind and intended it for both of you to use
- non-personal debts (your personal debts are your own responsibility)
- gifts or inheritances that have become mixed with relationship property
- property you both agree is relationship property
- increases in the value of relationship property, income from it or the proceeds from the sale of it
There are exceptions. In New Zealand, the use of Family Trusts are commonplace, and trust assets may be outside the reach of the act. In some circumstances, the court can make orders compensating one party for the transfer of property into a trust. The government is currently reviewing the role of trusts and the powers of the court. Lundons Law keeps a close eye on these developments, and we can advise you.
If you are separating from your partner / spouse, Lundons Law can advise you how to take into account:
- increases in value of separate property during the period of the relationship
- contributions to the relationship, and
- how debts are divided.
Common questions that we help clients resolve include:
- does the family home need to be sold?
- what is relationship property and how do we divide it?
- what if we cannot agree – do we have to go to court?
- what are the options regarding contracting out agreements?
Lundons Law can provide you with answers – contact us.