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Hudson v Gough [2021] NZFC 9618

Published 02 August 2022

Relationship property proceedings — family home — occupational rent — post separation contributions — Property (Relationships) Act 1976, ss 2G, 18, 18B, 25 & 33 — Meikle v Meikle [1971] 1 NZLR 137 — Scott v Williams [2017] NZSC 185, [2018] NZLR 507, [2018] NZFLR 1 — Shandil v Shandil [2011] NZFLR 554 (HC) — E v G HC Wellington CIV-2005-485-1895,18 May 2006 — C v C HC Auckland, CIV-2007-419-1313, 26 June 2008 — Griffiths v Griffiths [2012] NZFLR 327 (HC) — H v H FC Nelson FAM-2005-042-527, 29 March 2007. The parties were before the Court to deal with division of relationship property. They had been in a de facto relationship for 17 years and had three children together. The date of the parties' separation had been a matter of dispute at an earlier hearing and was determined to be the date that the applicant left the family home. The parties disagreed on the steps to be taken with regard to the family home, occupational rent flowing from the respondent's use of the home since separation, the valuation of some relationship property, and compensation for some expenses. The Judge agreed that the insurance value of the chattels was largely inflated. In the absence of independent evidence, an arbitrary value was set with the respondent to pay the applicant half. Similarly, the vehicle retained by the respondent and subsequently traded in before the hearing was valued by the Judge, with the respondent to pay the applicant half. The respondent's late request to purchase the family home after lengthy proceedings was denied. The Judge considered the powers under ss 25 and 33 of the Act which grant the power to make an order for sale of relationship property, or vesting of the relationship property or any part thereof in either partner. As the applicant was primarily responsible for caring for the children and their schooling commitments, his special association with the family home was recognised by the Judge, despite his three-year absence from the home following separation. In the absence of further evidence, the earlier agreed value of $705,000 was set by the Judge and the property vested in the applicant father subject to the confirmation of finance and payment to the respondent. Occupational rent was awarded in favour of the applicant to the value of $22,913.14. The respondent also sought care of children costs under s 18B. The applicant agreed to meet half of a number of expenses (excluding those that had been the subject of a child support administrative review). In total the applicant was to pay the respondent $298,051.07, less the adjustment for half of the occupational rent between the date of hearing and settlement. Judgment Date: 1 October 2021 * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *