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Sensible Separation - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
Sensible Separation - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
Sensible Separation - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
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Sensible Separation

June 2021 Emily Flaszynski

Separation occurs for many reasons: a gradual breakdown of a relationship, third party interference, hope for a new beginning. Whatever the reason, the breakdown of a relationship is one of life’s most significant events. This is amplified when there are children involved.

Our Family Team at Mortlock McCormack Law is committed to providing practical and constructive advice that assists separating parties to sort out their finances and arrange child care in a way that minimises conflict and keeps the best interests of the children at the centre of all steps that are taken.

We encourage people to seek advice early, so that couples have the benefit of fully understanding their rights and the options open to them. This allows couples to make sensible decisions that are suitable to them and their families.

The team of Emily, Natasha, Rachel, Andrew and Jamie is committed to taking a non-confrontational approach. As Emily says:

“We always look to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients while ensuring that the family’s interests are considered as priority”.

We can assist by providing practical and sensible advice:

  • on what is a fair and just division of your property
  • creating a financial plan for the children
  • protecting your assets for the future
  • ensuring you have a succession plan in place to protect your children.

By ensuring that a sensible approach is taken to separation, we can help you progress through this difficult event in a cost effective and efficient way. We can ensure that your decisions do not undermine the ongoing relationship that parents must have. A constructive and positive approach has long terms benefits which must be considered.

Commonly asked questions:
What is a Separation and Relationship Property Agreement?
This is a written document that sets out how property is to be divided. Often one party will purchase the other party’s interest in the family home. This agreement reflects how this is done.

What is a Contracting Out Agreement?
This is a written agreement that details what property is to be classified as “separate property” (yours to keep as your own) and what is “relationship property” (property to be shared between you). This document is forward looking and sets out in detail what assets exist at the beginning of a relationship and how assets are to be divided in the event of separation or death.

What is Relationship Property?
Relationship Property includes; the family home (whenever acquired), family chattels (whenever acquired), superannuation/KiwiSaver policy (for the part that is attributable to the relationship), all property acquired during the relationship that is not separate property. There are many rules about relationship property and when separate property can be converted to relationship property.

What is Separate Property?
Separate Property is property owned by you that is not relationship property. This could be property acquired before you began living together, property acquired from third parties by gift, succession or survivorship. Again there are many rules around separate property so it is best to get advice.

What is a fair division of our property?
This is a big question to which the answer will be different in every circumstance. The starting point is that each partner is entitled to share equally in the relationship property. Other factors may then be taken into account which affects the ultimate division.


If you have any queries relating to your property or your children feel free to contact Emily Flaszynski, Senior Associate (DDI 03 343 8454 /, Natasha McClure, Associate (DDI 03 343 8451 / For queries regarding family trusts and asset protection contact Andrew Logan, Principal (phone 03 377 2900 / or Jamie Stanton, Associate (DDI 03 343 8588 /