Cliffe v Vercoe [2020] NZFC 4332

Published 10 May 2021

Application for division of relationship property — application out of time — costs —non-participation in proceedings — failure to comply with rules — order for valuation of property — Property (Relationships) Act 1976 — District Court Rules 2014. The applicant applied out of time for the division of the parties' relationship property, being two residential properties they owned. The respondent refused to file affidavits of her assets and liabilities as required under the District Court Rules. At the hearing, she was argumentative and belligerent. Counsel for the applicant requested an order for the valuation of the property in which the respondent was residing, for the purposes of sale. The Judge noted that if the respondent continued to be belligerent and non-compliant, she would be held in contempt of court. The Judge noted the difficulty with making an order for valuation was that the respondent may refuse to allow the valuer onto the property given her conduct up until now. This would disadvantage the respondent as then the Court would be forced to use the rateable value of the property, which is often lower than the market value. The Judge granted the order for registered valuation, and gave the respondent a further final 28 days to file her affidavits. The Judge also awarded $500 in costs against the respondent. Judgment Date: 16 June 2020.