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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22769
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I have been with my husband years, married of those. He had

Customer Question

I have been with my husband for 26 years, married for 16 of those. He had nothing when I met him. I supported him completely for 8 years and then partly after that. We have two children together. I sold my house, moved to the country with him and gave up my career to do so. Turns out he has been having affairs and extended business trips are not always business. I moved off the farm 7 years ago to move to a town for schooling for our youngest. He was saying he would follow. He never did. Our friends know us as a married couple.
six months ago i found out about his cheating etc so we separated on that day.
during our time together he established a large forestry company with a business partner.
He is delaying any discussion over our separation and my settlement. I have nothing in my name at all. We have a family trust which I have just been reinstated as a trustee as he resigned me a couple of years ago by forging my signature.
I know its messy and I have spent more than I have, already, on lawyers to simply register my interest in the family farm and get advice on being reinstated as a trustee.
My question is: Am I entitled to half of the forestry investments? He has always claimed everything is half mine but he is a very skilled narsasist and I have learned that he manipulates everything and everyone.
I don't have funds to carry on with the lawyers in the manner I have been doing but as my ex has just committed to purchasing a Logging Mill and has merged his company with another Forestry company I have no idea where to go from here.
He has lots of cars a helicopter the farm, forestry and toys for Africa including constant traveling skiing boating you name it he has had a wonderful life while I have been raising the kids and living on a fixed weekly amount. He hasn't touched me for years claiming he couldn't perform in that way so I didn't push but now I realize he may be going to use that against me and suggest I left and we separated 7 years ago. Its not true, I was hanging onto dreams and promises very foolishly it would seem.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

You will have had advice that it is possible to attack family trusts, although your situation is clearly quite complicated. Possibly the most effective way to progress any settlement would be to start with a mediation, which would be much less expensive than litigation through the family Court or the High Court. I don't know if you have discussed this with your lawyers, but once you have all the information ready to make a claim, then you can make a formal proposal to him that you settle the relationship property with an experienced family mediator. This would enable you to talk frankly in a confidential environment, but would also enable you to get a much better idea of whether he is going to be reasonable or not. Often even if a mediation is not successful, it will enable you to plan a better strategy for any necessary litigation. What you have suggested it is certainly possible, and could be the subject of negotiation at the mediation. The other advantage is that mediation can be set up quite quickly. I am happy to discuss this further if you want more detail, but it would seem to be the next step this matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We went to a lawyer friend of his for supposedly mediation and that's where I had myself reinstated as a trustee at the Alice of my lawyer but nothing else was put on the table to discuss.
I was having neurosurgery two days later so it was all a bit surreal.
Who would mediate and do we both take our own lawyers to do that?
We have never had a joint bank acct and I have spent everything I had on lawyers so I feel hugely disadvantaged. Is it possible for my lawyer to work pro bono? The main question I had was, is half of his business assets mine legally as relationship property. The Miłl purchase has just happened so that's post our separation so would that be excluded from relationship property?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

I dont think the mediation you went with your husband was a formal mediation. There are trained family mediators who you can find at places like AMINZ.org.nz, the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute, who have lists of suitable experienced people. You can attend with or without a lawyer and you can bring support persons. Its hard fro me to say if the business assets are relationship property, but if assets are bought using relationship property they continue to be relationship property. You may also need to discuss spousal maintenance with your lawyer which would give you an income to pay for this.

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