An Expensive Whirlwind Romance

Jessica’s story shows how a whirlwind romance can put a big hole in your wallet.

Jessica is very unhappy. Jessica has a successful marketing business, owns a house with no mortgage, has a reasonably substantial amount of savings, a good superannuation, and KiwiSaver scheme and recently inherited a large sum of money from her late grandmother.  So, why is Jessica so unhappy?

Jessica’s lawyer has recently told her that her ex-partner Mark is entitled to almost half the value of her assets.  

Jessica met Mark four years ago.  Mark was a carefree spirit, having spent most of his life traveling the world and picking up bits of work here and there.  Mark had no savings or assets when he met Jessica. Jessica was initially enticed by Mark’s spontaneity and “take each day as it comes” attitude and was very happy when Mark agreed to settle down with her.  Mark and Jessica bought a house together in Te Awamutu with Jessica contributing all of her savings to the purchase. Mark had no savings to contribute but Jessica didn’t care, she was in love.

Soon after Jessica met Mark she established “Jessica’s Marketing”. Jessica and Mark were the directors and shareholders. Mark did a bit of office work for Jessica’s Marketing but otherwise did not work during their relationship.  Mark instead liked to spend time attending yoga retreats as he was training to be a yoga teacher. Jessica was a very hard worker. Jessica’s Marketing expanded rapidly and after two years Jessica had a team of 8 staff and a turnover of $750,000 a year. Jessica was a very hard worker. Jessica’s Marketing expanded rapidly and after two years Jessica had a team of 8 staff and a turnover of $750,000 a year.  

About three years after Mark and Jessica met, Jessica’s grandmother died and left Jessica $400,000. Jessica was very happy to be able to completely pay off the mortgage on their house.  

The success of Jessica’s Marketing meant there was a significant increase in Jessica and Mark’s household income. Jessica was very conservative with her money and was able to save more and make greater contributions to her Kiwi Saver and superannuation scheme.  Mark enjoyed having more disposable income and enjoyed spending the extra money on weekend trips and health products.  Eventually, Jessica and Mark were at odds.  Mark wanted Jessica to loosen up, spend and enjoy life. Jessica wanted Mark to be more responsible, plan ahead and save more.  Eventually, they split and it was not amicable.

Not long after they split Jessica received a letter from Mark’s lawyer. Mark is claiming a half share of “Jessica’s Marketing”, of their house, of Jessica’s KiwiSaver, of Jessica’s superannuation scheme and of Jessica’s personal savings. Jessica thinks “surely that can’t be right?”. Unfortunately for Jessica, Mark’s lawyer is correct.

If you are separated or divorced, or if you are in a new relationship and don’t want to find yourself in Jessica’s position contact us at Gallie Miles and we can help.

By
Shelley Greer
Solicitor

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