The law provides for a number of potential forms of relief for people who may otherwise be denied their legal entitlements when a close family member or a person who has made a promise to make provision in their Will has died. We have developed a compassionate and common sense approach to deal with cases of this nature, acting for both claimants and respondents.
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How long must I wait before getting a divorce (dissolution)?
In New Zealand you must be separated from your spouse (or civil union partner) for a period of two years before you can apply to have your marriage (or civil union) dissolved. Once that time period has expired the parties are free to apply to the Family Court for an order dissolving their marriage.
What is the process with getting a divorce (dissolution)?
An application to the Family Court is required and one party must be domiciled in New Zealand at the time the application is made. The application may be made by either one party on their own or by both parties jointly. The latter is generally more cost effective and will be processed more quickly by the Court. There is a filing fee payable at the time the application is made.
How can I get a protection order if my partner is violent?
The Domestic Violence Act defines "domestic violence" as including physical, sexual or psychological abuse or violence. The current legislation has a "zero-tolerance" policy towards such acts. If you are or have been in a domestic relationship and your partner has been violent towards you then we can assist you with an application to the Family Court for a protection order.
What is the process with adopting a child?
An application to adopt a child, whether the child was born in New Zealand or overseas, is made under the Adoption Act. Different processes are followed according to where the child was born. In New Zealand adoptions are overseen by Child Youth and Family who must approve the adoption and who match parents who wish to adopt with an available child. They should be your first point of reference. Adopting a child from overseas can be an extremely complex process. We recommend that you contact ICANZ which is a non-profit organisation providing support to New Zealand families and children from overseas orphanages.
How do I formalise a relationship with my new partner's child through adoption?
Given that adoption involves the legal substitution of a child's existing parents with new parents this is not always the best solution. We can advise on what other solutions, including guardianship, may work best for you and the child.
How do I take over management of and make decisions about my incapacitated parent's financial affairs and his/her welfare?
Sometimes people lose capacity to make decisions about their welfare or managing their property and need others to make these decisions for them. Unless Enduring Powers of Attorney have been made while the person requiring assistance (the subject person) has capacity an application under the Protection of Personal Property Rights Act to the Family Court will be necessary.
You will likely need help with the application, help with understanding what your ongoing commitments will be and how the process works. The Court requires specific information to be provided to it before it will consider an application. This will need to be presented in an affidavit and medical evidence as to the subject person's incapacity will be required.
The Court will appoint a lawyer to represent the interests of the subject person and the person appointed by the Court to act as welfare guardian and/or property manager will have ongoing reporting obligations to the Court.
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