Family Law: Relationship Property and Complex Structures Claims

Even the most skilled Family Law specialists face challenges when handling complex relationships property matters. Gain insights from experts on complex relationship property settlements and exploring inheritance implications pre and post separation. Navigate challenges in de facto relationships and assess the efficacy of 'contracting out agreements' post Sutton v Bell. Understand exemptions to equal sharing rules and strategies for handling companies and trusts in property division.

Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Attend and earn 4 CPD hours

10.00am to 11.00am Navigating Uncertainty: Opting to Contract Out Post Sutton v Bell

Address how to deal with de facto relationships and whether ‘Contracting Out Agreements’ might provide some certainty in the event of a relationship breakdown post the 
Sutton v Bell decision.
Presented by Lauren Aspin, Lawyer, Morgan Coakle

12.15pm to 1.15pm How to Deal with Companies and Trusts When Dividing Relationship Property


  • Update on sections 44 and 44C Property (Relationships) Act 1976
  • Consideration of s182 Family Proceedings Act 1980
  • Shares, current accounts and other aspects of companies and their relevance to relationship property

Presented by Daniel Vincent, Director, CS Law


Stuart Cummings SC, Surrey Chambers

9.00am to 10.00am Dealing with Inheritance Before and After Separation in Relationship Property Matters


  • Legal principles and review of recent case law
  • Practical examples and ways to avoid intermingling of inherited property with relationship property

Presented by Amy Malone, Staff Barrister, Surrey Chambers

11.00am to 11.15am Break
11.15am to 12.15pm Exemption to the Equal Sharing Rule


  • Understanding the implications of s13, s15, s18 and s26 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976
  • Dealing with section 15
  • Recent cases

Presented by Zandra Wackenier, Partner and Elizabeth Heaney, Senior Associate, Tompkins Wake

Learning Objectives:
  • Learn how to avoid intermingling inherited property with relationship property
  • Gain clarity on how to deal with de-facto relationships and if “Contracting Out Agreements” can provide certainty following Sutton v Bell decision
  • Understand the implications of the exemption to the equal sharing rule and recent cases
  • Understand how the courts have treated s13 claims and recent case update
  • Learn how to deal with companies and trusts when dividing up the relationship property


Zandra Wackenier, Partner, Tompkins Wake
Zandra is an experienced family lawyer with over 20 years in practice. Her expertise covers all aspects of family law with a particular interest and specialty in relationship property and trust claims as well as reproductive law. Zandra has been a member of several working groups for the New Zealand Law Society preparing submissions regarding legislative change and is a member of the New Zealand Law Society Family Law section.

Stuart Cummings SC, Surrey Chambers
Stuart Cummings commenced practising law in 1979 as an old-fashioned "law clerk" while completing his law degree. He was admitted in May 1982 and has practised, in the earlier days, in a number of jurisdictions before specialising in Family Law in the late 1980s. Over the past 30+ years that family law focus has further narrowed to a predominance of work in the relationship property area, including trusts, companies and complex disputes. Stuart has practiced as a Barrister sole since 1990, spent some years as a contributing author for Brookers Family Law on family property and is convenor of the Auckland District Law Society Family Law Committee and Chair of the Family Courts Association, Auckland.

Amy Malone, Staff Barrister, Surrey Chambers
Amy has over 20 years’ experience as a litigation and dispute resolution lawyer. For the past 7 years, Amy has worked alongside Stuart Cummings at Surrey Chambers, specialising Family Law. Amy has particular expertise in relationship property and care of children matters, and regularly represents clients in proceedings before the Family and High Courts.

Daniel Vincent, Director, CS Law
Daniel specialises in complex family litigation, often involving international and cross border issues. He appears regularly in appellate jurisdictions, most recently in respect of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction but also on relationship property and trust matters. In addition to his private practice, he also maintains a busy Lawyer for Child practice. He has over 20 years’ experience in litigation and is an experienced advocate in both appellate and trial contexts. Having led the family team at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in Wellington for a number of years, he has recently joined Cullinane Steele where he leads the litigation team.

Lauren Aspin, Lawyer, Morgan Coakle
Lauren is a solicitor in the litigation and family law teams at Morgan Coakle in Auckland. Lauren practises across all areas of family law with a particular interest in complex relationship property and trust disputes, parenting matters and advising clients regarding asset protection. She represents clients before the Family Court and High Court, at mediation, and in Collaborative Resolution processes. Lauren was recognised by Doyles Guide as a Family & Relationship Property Law Rising Star.

Elizabeth Heaney, Senior Associate, Tompkins Wake
Elizabeth is a senior associate in the family law team at Tompkins Wake (Auckland). She specialises in family law with a particular focus on relationship property, trusts and estates. Elizabeth also has experience as a civil litigator and has acted on professional liability disputes with a particular focus on trustee and legal professional liability. She advises a wide range of clients representing them in the Family Court, High Court, the Court of Appeal, at arbitration and mediation.


Family Law: Relationship Property and Complex Structures Claims


Morning Session
Wednesday, 19 June 2024
9.00am to 1.15pm New Zealand
CPD Hours 4
Online 20240716 20240619


On Demand 20240716 20240619

On Demand