Division of property

Morris advises clients on the division of their assets and liabilities. We deal with trusts, businesses and assets in multiple jurisdictions.

When partners or spouses separate, there are usually assets that need to be divided between them. Those assets include properties, shares, investments, savings, superannuation, cars and art. 

Increasingly, families have other structures that need to be addressed, such as companies or partnerships, and assets in multiple jurisdictions. We understand the importance of dealing with division of these assets commercially and pragmatically, so our clients can move forward in the best financial position possible. 

We represent high and ultra-high net worth individuals, business owners, beneficiaries of trusts and entrepreneurs. We frequently act for clients where there are trusts, businesses and international issues involved. 

We provide clear and realistic advice to our clients to enable the division of property to be resolved as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible. The vast majority of our matters settle without the need for court proceedings. However, litigation is sometimes required. We have significant experience dealing with complex issues in the Family Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. This includes:

  • bringing and defending claims for compensation for economic disparity;
  • opposing the jurisdiction of the New Zealand court on the basis that another forum is more appropriate; 
  • bringing or defending applications to remove trustees of family trusts where the partners or spouses are deadlocked and unable to agree on how to divide the trust assets;
  • representing directors of family companies facing shareholder derivative claims relating to their actions post-separation; 
  • acting for clients whose pre-nuptial or contracting out agreements have become unfair or unjust since they entered into them; 
  • appealing decisions of the Family Court to the High Court; 
  • applying to transfer proceedings to the High Court due to their complexity; and 
  • representing clients at mediations and judicial settlements conferences. 

We often work closely with forensic accountants, expert valuers and commercial lawyers to achieve the best outcome for our clients. 

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