Jane v Mikulicic [2019] NZFC 4888

Published 01 October 2020

Relationship property division — contracting out agreement — homestead — family home — gift — debt — superannuation scheme — chattels — credit card debt — Property (Relationships) Act 1976, ss 1, 7, 8, 9, 13, 18, 20 & 21 — McGill v Crozier (2001) 21 FRNZ 157 (HC) — Evans v Evans (1992) 9 FRNZ (HC) — A v R [2007] 2 NZLR 399 at [81] (HC) — Wells v Wells [2006] NZFLR 870 (HC) — West v West (No2) [2004] NZFLR 164 (HC) — Hammond v Hardy [2007] NZFLR 910 (HC) — F v F [2017] NZFLR 768 — Luxton v Luxton [2000] NZLR 855 — Geddes v Geddes [1987] 1 NZLR 303 — YLL v RC Mallon J, 25 September 2008, NP HC, CIV 2008-443-139 — L v P [2008] NZFLR 401, (2007) 26 FRNZ 946 (HC) — Walker v Walker [193] NZLR 560 (CA) — Samarawickrema v Samarawickrema [1995] 1 NZLR 14 (CA) — Castle v Castle [1997] 2 NZLR 97 — Martin v Martin [1979] 1 NZLR 97 — Joseph v Johansen (1993) 10 FRNZ 302 — Ronanye v Coombes [2016] NZFLR 672 at [32] (SC) — Loader v Loader [2003] NZFLR 553 — Fischbach v Bonnar [2002] NZFLR 705 — Chong v Speller (2004) 24 FRNZ 273; [2005] NZFLR 400 — JA v SNA [Economic disparity] [2008] NZFLR 297 — Devery v Manukonga, 21/5/04, Randerson J, Auckland HC, CIV-2003-404-5871 — E v G 18/5/06, Ronald Young J, Wellington High Court, CIV-2005-485-1895 — C v C, 26/6/08, Lang J, HC Auckland, CIV-2007-419-1313 — Griffiths v Griffiths [2012] NZFLR 327 — Butcher v Haack [2012] NZHC 2991. This hearing was to resolve a raft of relationship property disputes that had arisen after the parties' 12 year relationship ended. The main issues revolved around a property the respondent had purchased after buying out her former husband's share. This property was sometimes lived in by the parties and the applicant's children. The respondent submitted there was a contracting out agreement as the applicant had promised her (and several friends and family members) that he would never go after her home as he was not that type of man. The Judge found there were no grounds to find a contracting out agreement had been created and therefore the property (and $388,598.44 in debts attached to it) was relationship property. The applicant's superannuation policy was also deemed to be relationship property. As there were no special circumstances justifying unequal division of relationship property, all relationship property was to be divided equally. Payments the respondent had made to the applicant's children for flights, university and business advances were deemed to be gifts and not loans. The respondent submitted she was entitled to compensation for improvements made to the home after the relationship ended but provided no evidence of receipts or costs. No order was made to chattels. As no evidence or valuations had been provided, the Judge invited the parties to simply retain the chattels that were in their possession. The respondent was given two months to buy out the applicant's share of the property, as she had an emotional attachment to the property, having built the home on it with her father. If she did not buy him out, the property was to be put on the market. As the applicant was largely successful he was entitled to costs. Judgment Date: 28 June 2019.