There are numerous options available for dealing with individual family law situations and in advising people on their rights and obligations in their relationship.
We can advise you on the following areas of family law:
- Keeping Your Property Separate / Contracting Out Agreements
- Separation Agreements / Division of Relationship Property
- Dissolutions (Divorce)
- Care of Children (Custody and Access)
- Child Support
- Protection of Personal and Property Rights (PPPR) Applications
Keeping Your Property Safe / Contracting Out Agreements
If you are married or in a de facto relationship and do not want assets to be shared equally between you and your partner if you separate, then you need a Contracting Out Agreement.
A Contracting Out Agreement is a written agreement between you and your partner that sets out how your property is to be divided if you were to separate in the future. Unless you have a formal written agreement, you may find that your partner is able to claim half, or in some cases more than half, of what you may consider your separate property.
Such an agreement will only be valid if it is in writing and if you and your partner each receive independent legal advice and your lawyer certifies the agreement.
Separation Agreements / Division of Relationship Property
If you and your partner separate, you may need to decide how your property will be divided. There are many rules about the division of property which apply when a couple separate.
We can help with initial appointments to discuss how these rules may apply to you and what information needs to be gathered.
Many people are then able to reach an agreement about how they wish to divide property between them. In order to be binding, these agreements need to be in writing and both you and your partner need to receive independent legal advice.
We can help you to prepare a formal agreement recording your agreed division of property and provide you with independent legal advice. We can also provide you with independent legal advice regarding an agreement that has been prepared by another lawyer.
Some people are not able to reach an agreement about the division of property. We can help to negotiate an agreement. If that is not possible, then we can help you apply to the Family Court seeking a division of property.
If you have assets that are owned by a Family Trust or by a company, we are able to assist to divide or administer these assets.
If you are in a relationship and would like to keep some or all, of what you consider to be your property separate, take a look at Keeping Your Property Separate / Contracting Out Agreements
Dissolution of marriage is the way the Family Court describes what is commonly referred to as a “divorce.” This is a Court Order legally ending a marriage relationship. If you wish to remarry, then you need a Court Order dissolving your previous marriage.
A child’s guardians are the people who make the major decisions for that child. This includes matters relating to where a child lives, their education, religion, changing a child’s name, medical treatment and moving the child permanently from the area where they reside, either within New Zealand or overseas. Therefore, it is important to think about who should be a guardian and what decisions they will be required to make.
We can provide you with advice regarding guardianship matters.
Care of Children (Custody and Access)
If you and your partner separate, you will need to decide how you are going to look after your child or children. These matters used to be called “custody” and “access.”
The Family Court can now make Parenting Orders for the day-to-day care and contact arrangements for children.
If you and your partner agree about the care arrangements for your children, we can help to prepare a Childcare Agreement outside of the Family Court process recording what you have agreed.
If you do not agree about the care arrangements for your children, we can help you to try to resolve these matters.
Child support is money payable to assist with the care of your children. The child support scheme is primarily administered by the Inland Revenue Department. For an indication on how much child support a parent will have to pay, call the IRD on 0800 221 221 or look up child support on the IRD website: www.ird.govt.nz
If you are unhappy with a child support assessment or review decision made by the Inland Revenue Department it is possible to apply to the Family Court asking them to consider the issue of child support. Please contact us.
Protection of Personal and Property Rights (PPPR) Applications
Sometimes decisions need to be made for people who are not able to make those decisions themselves due to a medical condition. This can include the elderly, those who suffer from a stroke or head injury, people with an intellectual disability or another medical condition.
Where a person is not able to make decisions for themselves about their property, finances, medical treatment or care and they do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place; it is possible to apply to the Family Court for an Order appointing another person to make those decisions. We can help with these applications.
If you have been appointed a Property Manager, Property Administrator or Welfare Guardian and the Orders you have are about to expire, we can help to apply to the Court for further Orders.