Family Law

In our professional experience at KM Law, we know that family relationships are complex and have further-reaching legal implications than expected. People change and people pass on. Marriages can affect shareholders and companies. Children can take completely different paths to their parents and siblings. Loose ends can be legally risky, and costly.

Some of these concepts and intentions overlap with our Commercial Services

Non-Contention Agreements

When a home-owning couple splits up and assets are redistributed, typically that’s not the end of the story. Legally there is a six-year statute of limitation within which either party may contest any part of the previously-shared property.

Contesting property in court is costly. Children are often the ones who lose out in these kinds of property disputes.

If you want the option to finalise property redistribution at separation the two of you need to enter into a witnessed agreement, with a different lawyer advising each side. Similarly, if you want one party to have the option of buying the other out of a mortgage, the bank will demand the same thing. Conveyancers are unable to oversee this kind of agreement.

In our professional experience at KM Law, we know that family relationships are complex and have further-reaching legal implications than expected. People change and people pass on. Marriages can affect shareholders and companies. Children can take completely different paths to their parents and siblings. Loose ends can be legally risky, and costly.

Some of these concepts and intentions overlap with our Commercial Services.

Contentious Separations

When it comes to court battles, the difference between KM Law and ‘hot-shot’ lawyers is that of conscience and care. The KM Law team simply don’t have the heart to antagonise the other side in order to drag out proceedings and costs. Primarily this is because a drawn-out fight generally only benefits the lawyers and takes a huge toll on the family.

There is often a point where people realise things are breaking down, and it’s at that point where emotions spill over into stubborn, costly decisions. Some separations drag out over two years and incur legal costs of $100,000. It’s our job to get you through and out the other side as quickly and cleanly as possible.

Mostly we love getting people to the point where they can move on with their lives – but prevention is better than conflict. With a valid Non-Contention Agreement, there will be no court battle over property at all.

‘Contracting Out’ Agreements

NZ’s version of ‘Prenuptial Agreements’ [Property (Relationships) Act 1976 no. 166]

Contracting Out Agreements are often appropriate where there’s been a previous relationship, or where one party is bringing significant or family assets to the relationship. They are used to preserve the ownership or rights to property, for a tidy separation or estate management under the Relationship (Property) Act or the Will.

With more and more parents sharing assets with children, Contracting Out Agreements are becoming more relevant. You can’t choose who your children form relationships with, but you can stipulate that your own contributions to your children’s assets are protected from any future claim by their current or future partner. KM Law are happy to give you further information about securing your money or assets for your children only.

Although Contracting Out Agreements can feel awkward and unnecessary, they are a grown-up conversation for the modern world. We have found that they often strengthen a relationship with financial knowledge, confidence and surety.

At the end of the day, if necessary, you can blame the lawyer for suggesting a Contracting Out Agreement.

Other Family Law

Shareholders’ Agreements overlap with our family law services in many respects. It is prudent to consider, at a company level, the repercussions of the transfer of shares to a widow or widower.
The marriage of a Director or significant shareholder automatically confers rights and ownership to the new partner under NZ law. To provide surety to your company’s shareholders, and to ensure the reliable continuation of your company for all involved, you should detail ‘exit strategies’ and a host of other parameters in valid documentation.

For a better take on your specific situation, request a call with KM Law today.

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