Relationship Property Dispute Resolution

We recently acted for client who separated from her husband three years earlier.

In some cases parties who have separated are able to resolve to divide their relationship property between themselve quite amicably.  Unfortunately, in other cases the relationship between the parties has broken down to such an extent that they can’t communicate with each other at all.  Generally the longer it takes for parties to resolve a dispute, the more entrenched they become in their position.  In these cases it is not possible for the dispute to be resolved without using dispute resolution processes such as negotiation, mediation and/or the Court.  

We recently acted for client who separated from her husband three years earlier.  The parties were not able to agree as to how their assets would be divided and the value of those assets.  For example, they could not agree as to the value of the family home, who would retain an investment property, the extent of the contributions each had made after separation and the value of their household chattels.  By the time our client contacted us, the husband had already made an application to the Family Court and a two day hearing had been scheduled.  Initially, neither party wanted to concede or compromise their position.  But, after determining what each parties’ potential entitlement was in law, we were able to negotiate a settlement with the husband’s lawyer that both parties could live with.  This avoided the stress and expense of going to Court.

In this situation, if negotiation had not been able to settle the dispute, the parties may have been able to reach agreement at mediation.  Mediation is faster and less expensive than going to Court.  The parties and their lawyers are able to discuss the issues in dispute and try to resolve these in a practical, pragmatic way.   Alternatively, the Court also provides Judicial Settlement Conferences whereby the parties and their respective lawyers can attend a conference with a Judge.  The Judge attempts to get the parties to reach agreement and will often give some indication of the likely outcome should the matter go to a hearing.

Of course in some cases the parties just cannot agree and it is necessary to go to a hearing.  In this event, the dispute resolution team at Gallie Miles is able to effectively represent clients in the Family Court.  If you have a dispute about the division of your relationship property and would like to discuss your options with us, contact Kirsty McDonald kirsty@gallie.co.nz or Shelley Greer at shelley@gallie.co.nz.

By
Kirsty McDonald
Director

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