Christchurch: CBD – (03) 379 7690 | Ferrymead – (03) 940 2435 | Hornby – (03) 349 5111

Relationship Property

Anyone who is married, in a civil union, or de facto relationship will be affected by the Property (Relationships) Act once one of the parties dies or the relationship ends by separation.

Dealing with Relationship Property matters on top of a stressful and what is an emotionally-charged time can be a daunting prospect. However with practical, straight-forward legal advice from the expert team at Saunders & Co these matters can be resolved effectively and efficiently, usually without the need to enter the courtroom.

Our specialist team has significant experience and expertise in matters around separation and divorce, relationship property and protection of assets, with our network of valuers on hand to ensure just division.

We are also experts in the preparation of contracting out agreements (pre-nuptial agreements) for clients intending to marry or cohabitate. These agreements are an increasingly popular form of relationship insurance to protect parties’ existing assets such as the family home and chattels, life insurance, superannuation, inheritances and gifts, businesses, income, and bank accounts.

You can make agreements about the status, ownership and division of relationship property at any time during your relationship. Please feel free to call one of our relationship property specialists.

External links to further information

New Zealand Law Society publications:

Get further advice from

Anna Kissick

Associate

Direct dial: +64-3-963 1461
Mobile: 027 464 3315
E-mail: anna.kissick@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Donna Lake
Office: CBD

I am currently on maternity leave.

I joined Saunders & Co in 2016 and was made an Associate in 2018. I specialise in matters relating to family law and relationship property, including litigation. I also handle criminal matters such as traffic offences and limited licences.

Family law and relationship property cases often present challenging and emotional situations. I take a compassionate approach while being firmly focused on delivering a practical, workable resolution. This process may include giving useful advice and describing the process step-by-step to my clients.

My varied role encompasses contracting-out agreements, relationship property agreements and any litigation involved with these matters outside the Family Court. I also work on care of children and domestic violence cases which usually involves defending or applying for protection orders inside the Family Court.  Adoptions are another area of my expertise.

I enjoy face-to-face contact with my clients and gain a lot of satisfaction from resolving situations.  I also enjoys the litigation aspect of my work and how it challenges me.

I specialise in the following areas:

Nicola Coombes

Partner

Phone: +64 3 940 2435
E-mail: nicola.coombes@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Stephanie Davison
Office: Ferrymead

I joined Saunders & Co in 2012 soon after my arrival from the UK and became a partner in 2017. I enjoy leading the Ferrymead office with its broad, general practice and family-focused culture. Clients benefit from the smaller office environment and although most matters are handled within the Ferrymead office, additional expertise from the firm’s corporate office can be accessed if required.

Property and commercial matters make up a large part of my portfolio, which could include anything from the sale and purchase of homes, commercial buildings and businesses, to leasing, and refinancing. I also assist clients with personal asset planning, trusts, wills and estates, and continue to handle a smaller amount of insurance and earthquake-related work.

I am genuine in my approach and aim to provide prompt efficient service and pragmatic advice, focused on clearly explaining every step of the process.

Building strong links to local communities in the east of the city and the seaside suburbs is important to me, with the Ferrymead office assisting a number of community groups and trusts.

I specialise in the following areas:

What My Clients Say

“I am writing to acknowledge the superior service we were afforded by Nicola and her team at Saunders & Co Ferrymead. Having worked with and against a number of lawyers in my career, it was a delight to finally find a team who knew their business, executed it with diligence and aplomb while never losing their sense of humor or the human touch. We were singularly impressed with Nicola’s knowledge, experience and compassion. Never once did we suffer condescension, were we treated as numpties or made to feel we were wasting a professional’s time. Nothing was too much trouble and our angst and anxiety were met with concern and genuine understanding. This is an associate, backed by a team, in which Saunders & Co can have confidence and pride..”
Robert Nimmo Christchurch

Peter Tatham

Consultant

Direct Dial: +64 3 265 0915
Mobile 027 448 6336
E-mail: peter.tatham@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Jennifer Whitbread
Office: Hornby

I am a consultant who joined Saunders & Co in 2013 from Franklin Law in Pukekohe.  There I was a Senior Solicitor practising as a civil and family court lawyer and head of the estates administration team.

Based at our Hornby office, I have an extensive general practice with an emphasis on estate administration and litigation, relationship property agreements and litigation, wills, enduring powers of attorney, and residential property conveyancing. I also have significant experience in rural legal matters, in particular, the dairying and chicken farming industries.

With a relaxed, friendly approach, I relate to a wide range of people, and am able to help individuals to solve any legal issues they may face. Relationship property makes up around half of my practice. I am known for being calm and pragmatic as I help clients navigate what can be emotionally-charged situations.

I am well organised, like to keep a tidy office, and enjoy using technology to communicate with my clients.

I specialise in the following areas:

What My Clients Say

“I am so pleased that I chose Saunders & Co for all my legal requirements. I have found that they are very professional and a pleasure to deal with.”
Marie Hansen

 

“The team that assisted me during my relationship split, proved to be professional and went above and beyond to assist me. They made the process as simple as they possible could, they also showed empathy during a very stressful time.”
Logan Gianelly

 

We would just like to thank you for all your assistance in the whole process of buying our first home. It was not smooth but with your help it was made easy. We’d be very happy to recommend you to family and friends in the future. We will be in touch if we need your service again.”
Dennis Demanawa and Marie Bulaong

 

“We were very pleased with Peter’s help in understanding our options and are pleased to now have a local Hornby contact for legal advice in the area of commercial debt recovery. We appreciated his prompt attention to questions and advice.”
Heather Ruddle, Prestige Commercial Vehicles

 

“Thank you to both of you Peter and Jennifer, for the sensitive way in which you managed to navigate our issues. I acknowledge you were often placed in an uncompromising position needing to deal with our emotional frustrations and sometimes angry outbursts. With your patient guidance and understanding we have now reached an amicable outcome.”
R Naida Glavish ONZM JP, Co-Chair Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua

Sarah Bee

Partner

Direct dial: +64-3-966 7704
Mobile: 027 366 6090
E-mail: sarah.bee@saunders.co.nz
Assistant: Claudia Nell
Office: CBD

I joined Saunders & Co in 2013 and was made a partner of the firm in 2018.

Working in general practice with smaller firms in Wellington has provided me with experience and expertise in a wide range of legal disciplines for private clients, such as family law including relationship property and property law with a special interest in trusts and estates.

I take an avid interest in my clients and tailor my approach to their needs. I am known for being pragmatic and direct, asking the right questions to get to the heart of a matter as quickly as possible. This is especially pertinent when dealing with family relationship matters, trusts or enduring powers of attorney. My aim is for an effective and expedient resolution for my clients.

Relationship property is a particular area of interest for me.  I assist with contracting-out agreements (pre-nuptial agreements) when clients wish to record their understanding about how property will be dealt with if they separate or die. These agreements are becoming increasingly prevalent as a form of relationship “insurance”, ensuring that both parties have an enforceable plan should they separate or one of them dies.  I also help clients to negotiate agreements and settlements when couples are separating and am highly experienced when it comes to property sale and purchase transactions.

I specialise in the following areas:

What My Clients Say

“I can highly recommend Sarah Bee – she has been an absolute star to deal with, extremely professional and I really couldn’t have asked for anyone to be more efficient. Sarah has replied after hours and in weekends to my emails, deconstructed legal terminology (!) and generally made setting up a trust, selling a house and purchasing a house a very easy, stress-free process for me. I have no hesitation in recommending Sarah and will definitely be using her services again in the future.”
Anne-Marie Grace, Auckland

 

“We have dealt with Saunders and Co for many years and most recently with Sarah Bee for a property sale transaction. Sarah has been wonderful to deal with whether via phone, email or text. Since the earthquakes, property sales in the Canterbury region seem to always be a protracted event and we thank Sarah for her guidance and good humour through the peaks and troughs.”
Anne and Barry Worthington, Auckland

 

“We would like to thank you for the professional and courteous service we received from Sarah in acting for us with the sale of the apartment. I have to say, she was excellent, and is a credit to your business. We thought things were complicated, but Sarah always explained everything so thoroughly that we were always left feeling confident. We trusted her without question. She was just so diligent and responsive.”
Joseph and Pauline Besso, Christchurch

Tui Scott

Lawyer

Direct dial: +64 3 265 0316
Mobile: 027 696 3784
E-mail: tui.scott@saunders.co.nz
Office: CBD

I have specialised in the area of family law since my admission in 2015. I enjoy the one-on-one interaction with clients that this area of law provides and I’m experienced in guiding clients through a time that can be stressful and, sometimes, highly emotional.

I have appeared regularly in a number of family courts around the South Island, including Christchurch, Nelson, Blenheim, the West Coast and South Canterbury. This experience means that I am well versed in the particular workings of many of our South Island regional courts and am familiar with the local lawyers in these regions. This background assists me in progressing my clients’ goals and, ultimately, in achieving the best outcome possible.

My area of expertise includes matters relating to care of children, domestic violence, and disputes as to paternity. Such matters often call for input from other agencies and experts. I ensure I am kept well connected to relevant organisations through my participation on a number of boards and associations, including the Family Courts Association.

I am an approved Family Legal Advice Service (FLAS) and Family Legal Aid provider.

I specialise in the following area:

Locations:

CBD: 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch, NZ

Ferrymead: Unit 2, 987 Ferry Road, Christchurch, NZ

Hornby: 5 Goulding Avenue, Christchurch, NZ

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