Kerikeri, New Zealand

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Services

Services

Separations – full service

If you have separated from your spouse or partner I can help you sort out your financial affairs. I personally represent clients from all over Northland, as well as those living overseas. I offer a complete service in this area, which includes meetings and all discussions with you, negotiations with your spouse or partner or their legal advisor, drafting and completing the agreements (if required), full independent advice on the merits of the division, and completion of all property transfers.

My fees will depend on the situation you present, the property you need resolved, and the attitude of your spouse or partner. I am happy to discuss a fixed fee arrangement to cover all attendances, but I will need to discuss your situation with you first.   This is where you have to be brutally honest with me and tell me the whole picture.

As an indication, the following possible cost ranges may apply:

  • Independent advice on terms of separation agreement: $900.00 - $1,200.00 (including GST).
  • Independent advice on terms of separation agreement and negotiation of terms: $950.00 - $1,500.00 (including GST).
  • Drafting agreements and full negotiation of terms (if amicable separation): $1,700.00 - $2,700.00 (including GST).
  • Drafting agreements and full negotiation of terms (if matter is disputed): $2,750.00 - $7,000.00+ (including GST).

If you are unable to pay this fee immediately, I am willing to discuss an arrangement with you for the costs to be paid over a short period of time.

These prices are very competitive. Other firms may indicate a lower price when they estimate a job, but then rack the price up “because of how the case develops”. I don’t approve of that approach.

Conveyancing services (transfer of properties) following signing of all documents is usually an additional service. I will discuss this with you as it may be possible to include this in your fixed fee.

Please note if your case cannot be settled by an agreement and Court assistance is required we will need to discuss the costs of that as it will not be included in the above quote.

Please read the FAQ section of my website to find out what information you will need to provide me with so I can do my job WELL.

Separations – document drafting

If you are living in other parts of New Zealand I offer a fixed fee separation agreement drafting service. For a competitive price, I will draw up an agreement to reflect your intentions. For an additional minor charge I will provide you with a letter of advice about the merits of the proposed division.

  • Fixed fee for drafting agreement: $650 (including GST).
  • Fixed fee for drafting agreement and providing letter of advice $750.00 (including GST).

When the agreement is drafted you and your spouse (or partner) will both need to take the agreement to an independent lawyer to receive advice on its terms. If you wish, I can then assist with the transfer of properties (and drawing up of new wills and powers of attorney).

Please read the FAQ section of my website to find out what information you will need to provide me with so I can do my job.

Family Court Property Divisions

Sometimes it is not possible to resolve your case by negotiation. This is the case when you and your spouse (or partner) cannot agree on terms. Although a “last resort” option, in these cases often the only way to end the dispute is to ask the Family Court to divide the property.

When any dispute goes to the Family Court the costs will undoubtedly be higher than if we resolve it by an agreement. It is almost impossible to quote a fixed fee in these cases, because the cost will depend on how complex the matter is, and how much work is required (most cases settle without an actual hearing). What I usually do is provide a fixed fee quote for a portion of the job. This means that if the case settles you would not pay the full price.

If you are unable to pay this fee immediately, I am willing to discuss an arrangement with you for the costs to be paid over a short period of time.

Pre-nuptial agreements (Contracting out agreements) – full service

In New Zealand you can enter into an agreement with your spouse or partner, to contract out of New Zealand property sharing law. This is usually done at the start of the relationship, although it can be done at any time. I personally represent clients from all over Northland, as well as those living overseas.

I offer a fixed fee service for contracting out agreements. Currently my fees are:

  • Independent advice on terms of agreement: $800.00 (including GST).
  • Independent advice on terms of agreement and negotiation of terms (amicable): $900.00 (including GST).
  • Independent advice on terms of agreement and negotiation of terms (disputed agreement): $1,450.00 (including GST).
  • Drafting agreement and advice on terms: $1,500.00 (including GST).
  • Drafting agreement and full negotiation of terms (if amicable agreement): $1,700.00 (including GST).
  • Drafting agreement and full negotiation of terms (if agreement is disputed): $2,850.00 (including GST).

If you are unable to pay this fee immediately, I am willing to discuss an arrangement with you for the costs to be paid over a short period of time.

These prices are very competitive. Other firms may indicate a lower price when they estimate a job, but then rack the price up “because of how the case develops”. I don’t approve of that approach.

Please read the FAQ section of my website to find out what information you will need to provide me with so I can do my job.

Pre-nuptial agreements (Contracting out agreements) – document drafting

If you are living in other parts of New Zealand I offer a fixed fee contracting out agreement drafting service. For a competitive price, I will draw up an agreement to reflect your intentions. For an additional minor charge I will provide you with a letter of advice about the merits of the proposed structure

  • Fixed fee for drafting agreement: $650.00 (including GST).
  • Fixed fee for drafting agreement and providing letter of advice $750.00 (including GST).

When the agreement is drafted you and your spouse or partner will both need to take the agreement to an independent lawyer to receive advice on its terms.

Please read the FAQ section of my website to find out what information you will need to provide me with so I can do my job.

Divorces

The process involved in divorcing your spouse (in New Zealand this is called a dissolution of marriage) is complex, and an often intimidating process for people to go through. I can take all the hassle away. I offer a fixed fee divorce service, and a guarantee that the marriage will end (if the marriage does not end I will refund your legal fees, except if you change your mind).

My fees are:

  • Single application: $650.00 (including GST).
  • Joint application: $550.00 (including GST).

The Ministry of Justice also imposes a filing fee that needs to be paid to the Family Court at the time the application for dissolution is made. That filing fee is currently $211.50 and will need to be paid when we are ready to file the paperwork.

If separate applications are required - for example you need to serve your spouse who lives overseas, or who cannot be located, those tasks can be separately quoted.

Please also note that if you file a separate application you will need to arrange for the documents to be served on your spouse. There will probably be a cost from a process server, which is not included in our quote.

Please read the FAQ section of my website to find out what information you will need to provide me with so I can do my job.

Assistance for incapacitated family members

I believe everyone should have an up to date powers of attorney, both in relation to their personal welfare, and their property. This will allow a trusted person to take care of you if you are unable to manage your own affairs. It can be very frustrating to family if urgent decisions needs to be made and you do not have one. Urgency can be costly! In these cases a Family Court Order is needed to enable the family to take control of the person’s property and welfare.

I currently offer a fixed fee of $3,000.00 (including GST) for these Court applications - for undefended applications. If your case is defended - for example other family members will be applying to the Court or contesting your application, we need need to either agree on a different fixed fee, or we can work on a time-cost (hourly rate) basis.

If you are unable to pay this fee immediately, I am willing to discuss an arrangement with you for the costs to be paid over a short period of time.

Please read the FAQ section of my website to find out what information you will need to provide me with so I can do my job.

Estate disputes

When a family member passes away it is sad reality that other members often fall out over financial issues. These disputes usually involve one of three things:

  • A family member claims he or she was promised something from the deceased, and wishes to enforce that promise.
  • A family member believes he or she has been treated unfairly in the deceased’s will, and asks for more money.
  • The executor or trustee of the estate is not acting correctly and needs to be removed.

We can assist you with all of these problems. We can also defend these cases.

Often the best starting point is to obtain written advice from a lawyer about what your possible chances of success would be in Court. For a fixed fee of $1,150.00 (including gst) we will provide you with a robust professional opinion about your case, including the causes of action, the possible chances of success, and what (if any) you might be able to achieve.This fee will include our initial meeting with you to discuss the family situation, reviewing all necessary documents (if to hand), and providing an opinion about your chances of success (in either defending a claim, or obtaining a share from the estate).

It is not possible to give an estimate of the total cost of matters which become disputes, without discussing your personal situation with you first. We are happy to give quotes for blocks of work, as well as total estimates. We are also able to discuss fee arrangements so costs can be paid over a short period of time.

Other Estate litigation

We are able to assist you with all other areas of estate litigation, especially cases which are not disputed, such as applications to the Court to validate incorrectly signed wills. Please contact me if you have any estate matters which you need assistance with.

It is not possible to give an estimate of the cost without discussing your personal situation with you first. We are happy to give quotes for blocks of work, as well as total estimates. We are also able to discuss fee arrangements so costs can be paid over a short period of time.

Trust disputes and litigation

We are able to assist you with all types of trust litigation – both matters which are in dispute and also non-contentious issues.   Please contact me if you have any trust issues which you need assistance with.

It is not possible to give an estimate of the total litigation cost without discussing your personal situation with you first. We are happy to give quotes for blocks of work, as well as total estimates. We are also able to enter into fee arrangements so costs can be paid over a period of time.