Need A Family Lawyer?

At Hewat Galt we understand that family law issues can be extremely stressful and distressing. We will assist you with your matter in a clear, confidential and compassionate manner. We will ensure that you feel confident, listened to and informed through each step of the process.

Our family law team can provide advice and assistance with:

What Is a Contracting Out Agreement?

Under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 there is a presumption that all relationship property will be divided equally between two people living together as a couple for more than three years. There are very few exceptions to this presumption, therefore, if you and your partner wish to make your own arrangements regarding the division of relationship property if your relationship ends, then you both need to sign a contracting out agreement (otherwise known as a pre-nuptial agreement).

Do I Need A Contracting Out Agreement?

Contracting out agreements typically occur when one party to a relationship is bringing into the relationship substantially more property than the other party. For example, one of the parties may have purchased a home before the relationship began and wants to ensure that it remains theirs alone should the relationship end. Another common reason for entering into a contracting out agreement is if one of the parties has children from a previous relationship and wishes to protect their separate property in the event of a relationship breakdown so they can pass that particular property on to their children.

How Can I Enter A Contracting Out Agreement?

At Hewat Galt we can advise you on the process and draft a bespoke contracting out agreement for your particular circumstances. Please note that under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 both parties to the relationship must seek independent legal advice before signing any agreement.

If you would like to discuss creating a contracting out agreement, contact us today to talk with one of our legal staff.

What is Marriage Dissolution

A dissolution of marriage is a divorce. If you have been separated for two or more years you can make an application to the family court to have your marriage formally dissolved. You can apply jointly or alone. When submitting the application you must provide a sworn affidavit stating:

  • at the time the application is filed, you will have been living apart for at least two years, and
  • that you have made arrangements for the care of your children, or there is a good reason why you haven’t made arrangements.
Do I Need a Lawyer To Obtain a Divorce?

You do not need a solicitor to obtain a dissolution of marriage. However, you may wish to discuss other legal matters such as relationship property and arrangements for your children with a solicitor.

At Hewat Galt we understand that divorce is one of the most stressful and emotionally fraught events people have to go through. We will take the time to listen to you and explain the process in clear, concise language so you feel confident and assured of the process every step of the way.

If you need to talk to someone about your divorce, contact us today.

What Is a Parenting Order?

When parents decide to separate they must make arrangement for the care of their children. Ideally, these arrangements will be decided amicably between the parents themselves. The family court offers free counselling and mediation to assist with this process.

However, if a parenting agreement cannot be reached between the parents, then the court can issue a parenting order under the Care of Children Act 2004 which, unlike a parenting agreement, is legally binding. This will decide on the day-to-day care (formerly known as custody) and the contact (formally known as access) of any children involved in the separation.

When a parent has day-to-day care of a child it means the child lives with them on a daily basis and that parent is responsible for their everyday welfare, for example, ensuring that they are fed, warm and attending school. Contact refers to how and when the child gets to spend time with the parent who does not have day-to-day care of them.

Who Can Apply For a Parenting Order?

The following people can apply for a parenting order:

  • a parent of the child
  • a guardian of the child
  • a spouse or partner of a parent, if they have had day-to-day care of the child
  • any other person who is a member of the child’s family, whānau, or other culturally recognised family group, and who is given permission by the court to apply
  • any other person who is given permission by the court to apply.

In situations where a parent is dead, has been refused contact with the child by the court, or is making no attempt to have contact with the child, other people are also eligible to apply for a parenting order. These people are:

  • the mother or father of the parent who is dead or out of contact with the child
  • a brother or sister of that parent
  • a brother or sister of the child.
Do I Need To See A Lawyer To Apply For a Parenting Order?

It would be very unusual for a person to apply for a parenting order without first seeing a lawyer. At Hewat Galt we can guide you through the process of obtaining a parenting order and make sure that all necessary steps for filing the application in court are followed correctly. Recent changes to the Family Court system has meant that lawyers are barred from appearing for people in the majority of Care of Children Act cases. However, we can still assist you with your application, or if you are opposing an application. For qualifying people, we are able to provide a free advice session where we will explain how the Family Court system works and what your options are.

If you need to talk to someone about applying for a parenting order, contact our friendly office today.

If you are in immediate danger call 111 and ask for the police. They will respond immediately.

What Is a Protection Order?

A protection order is a formal order issued by the court designed to protect a victim or victims (known as the appellant) of domestic abuse. Domestic includes; spouse, partner, ex-partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, brother, sister, flatmate, other whānau or family member, child, child’s parent, or close personal friend. You don’t have to be living with the person for it to be classed as a domestic relationship.

A protection order will name the abuser (known as the respondent) and state a number of conditions they must comply with including:

  • Non-violence conditions
  • Non-contact conditions
  • The respondent must attend a Stopping Violence programme
  • The respondent may not posses any firearms or hold a firearms licence
  • Any other conditions the court sees as reasonable in order to protect the appellant

A protection order will automatically extend to any children under the age of 17 years who normally live with the appellant.

How Can I Apply For a Protection Order?

If you are in immediate danger call 111 and ask for the police. They will respond immediately.

It the danger is not immediate, we can help you complete the forms necessary to obtain a protection order. Our lawyers will take the time to explain each step of the process fully so you can feel confident and assured of the steps that you are taking for the safety of you and your loved ones. You can also apply for a Property Order at the same time to give you possession of the house and/or furniture.

If you are in need of a protection order please get in touch today and we will provide you with the help and assistance you need. All our advice is given in the strictest confidence.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a way of protecting your assets for the future. To form a trust a person (known as a settlor) places assets under the control of a person (known as the trustee), for the benefit of another person or people (known as the beneficiaries) or for a specified purpose (such as education).

The trustee must deal with the asset in the manner set out in the trust deed. Trusts can be:

  • Fixed – this is where the beneficiaries and their share of the assets are decided when the trust is created.
  • Discretionary – the trust deed gives the trustees discretion as to who may benefit from the trust and what their proportional share will be.
Why Would I Want To Create a Trust?
  • To keep property such as a family farm within the family.
  • To manage tax liability on assets.
  • To put money aside for a specific purpose such as tertiary education.
  • To protect assets such as the family home from being used for debt collection.
  • To avoid property becoming relationship property in the future.
What is a Charitable Trust?

A charitable trust is set up for the express purpose of operating for a charitable purpose. There are often many beneficiaries and money donated to the charitable trust for the purpose of the beneficiaries is tax deductible.

How can we help?

Our experienced solicitors can assist you with creating your family or charitable trust. Setting up a trust can often be complex but we will ensure that you fully understand the process so you can make the best decisions in relation to your interests.

Contact us today if you would like to find out more about setting up a family or charitable trust.

Buying and selling a home is both an exciting and sometimes stressful time. It is also the greatest purchase most people are likely to make in their lifetime so it is important to get the details and paperwork exactly right.

Why do I Need a Solicitor When Buying or Selling my House?

There is much more to buying and selling a property than filling in a few forms. If you fail to word a condition right or mis-read a report you could be faced with serious financial consequences. It is therefore important to engage a professional solicitor to protect your interests.

How Can We Help?

At Hewat Galt we will provide you with sound, secure advice that will ensure your savings and interests are protected. We can advise you on the drafting of the conditions contained in the sale and purchasing agreement check the LIM report and discuss any other information we feel it would be prudent to acquire before purchasing the property, such as a building or structural engineers’ report.

If you are buying or selling a residential property give us a call today.

Contact us today and we can talk through your issue in strict confidence.