Examples of Relationship Property cases undertaken

He walked off with the family business: Our client's "ex" sold the business to himself for $0. He, and his accountant, consistently argued the business had no value; even when our investigation into the accounts disclosed irregularities, and our valuation indicated there was value. Inevitably, the case went to Court, and the judge agreed with our client's position; that there was a value after all. The judge also agreed with our assessment that cash sales were never banked, nor reported in the accounts, and to the IRD.

They separated in 1996!: Our client's "ex" thought he had got away with the family's $1m business; by cleverly hiding behind a lack of financial information & records stretching back to 1996; he over did himself when he demanded our client pay him $400,000 for half the family home! From a motley collection of financial records, IRD records and other reports, we re-constructed what occurred over the intervening 15 year period. The family court ruled in our clients favour; she keeps the family home 100% debt free, and a $250,000 cash pay out. The "ex" appealed to the High Court; who dismissed his appeal.

Company Group valued too high: Our client's "ex", and her accountants, placed unrealistic valuations on the family's group of companies; which had -ve equity! Our analysis and presentation showed the true situation; the parties settled at mediation, valuing the companies at nil. Our client retained the businesses, taking on the liabilities.

Relationship property cash had disappeared into offshore "hidden" bank accounts: Our investigations, and bank account analysis, uncovered an "under-handed" 8 year history of missing cash. Part of our document request were telephone records [under discovery]; which we trolled through, and identified a series of telephone numbers. One number was to a bank in George St, Sydney, Australia - which had $500,000 in it!

Business "wiped" out by false debts: During Court testimony we successfully showed that the "debts" were contingent liabilities "created" by the "ex" to reduce the price he was paying for the family business; that the debts never eventuated! Lawyers for both parties negotiated a settlement out on the footpath.

Company business undervalued by a "special" set of accounts: Our client's "ex" manufactured a special set of financial accounts - just for our client and us! We uncovered this by cross referencing company records, and investigating IRD GST & income tax records; and then re-created the accounts to show the true picture to the Court; which agreed with the real accounts - when we finally received them! Identifying and demanding the relevant records during the discovery process is crucial.

Equity in the home "disappeared" as the mortgage funded the business: The "ex" was buying the family business, but deviously wanted to palm the business debts off [secured by the family home] as relationship property debt; so as to reduce the price he had to pay! Analysis of 10 years of bank statements proved that the business owed the funds secured by the family home. Our client received half the value of the debt free family home.

Family business had no value: But the business owed the relationship [our client!] $100,000; and had the cash to easily make the payment. Our analysis proved that, while the "ex" was buying the business, he wanted to keep 100% of the shareholder's current account too; aiming to deprive our client of her $100,000.

Export company burdened with "huge GST debts": Our client's "ex" was buying the family business from the relationship; which he "naturally" claimed had no value as there were GST "debts" owing to the IRD i.e. wiping out the value of the business. We provided a list of documents to be demanded under discovery, which upon analysis, proved the GST "debt" to be false. The Family Court agreed; after all an exporter's income is GST exempt!

A useful link for more information and case law is the Family Court website and Court Decisions.

Email, or phone, Hugh Sutherland if you would like to discuss a free assessment of your case