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Family Court Review

By Tara Hurley - 3 Aug 2012 - 1 comment

The Ministry of Justice has announced a raft of reforms to be made to the Family Court.  The reforms will largely focus on care of children matters but will also bring about important changes to the Family Court's jurisdiction in relationship property proceedings. 

The most significant proposal is to establish an out of court Family Dispute Resolution Service as a means to help people resolve their disputes quickly and inexpensively. 

Of particular interest to us is the proposal to extend the definition of domestic violence in the Domestic Violence Act to include "economic abuse".  This reform recognises the reality of people using a range of economic tactics in order to "abuse" their partner.  An example of what may come under the definition of economic abuse is where one partner restricts the other from access to money.  We look forward to exploring in practical terms, how this new definition could assist our clients struggling through financial separation. 

For more information please contact:

Tara Hurley



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My interest is in relationship property and in particular valuation of businesses and shares in private companies. I have been advocating for the Family Court to consider adopting a single expert regime for some time and for NZICA to tighten up standards in relation to independent valuations. I addressed the Family Court Judges on this issue late last year.

Tony Weberreply

The author replies       Having been involved in cases where experts have returned staggeringly different business valuations I can certainly see the benefit of the approach you are advocating. There are often only two ways in which differing business valuations are dealt with:

1. The average is taken; or
2. The parties proceed to court with the experts’ evidence put to the test.

The first option is most often unsatisfactory and the second cost prohibitive and uncertain.


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