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The battle for control of the Trust (when a relationship ends)

Dividing property in the aftermath of a failed relationship can unleash powerful emotions and can drive people to say and do things they would not normally do.

A few years ago we helped a client with in a long and difficult dispute. When our client ended her marriage she was prepared for unpleasantness, but she never anticipated the ferocity with which her husband would seek to deny her the ability to rebuild her life. He made vicious allegations, concealed assets and altered documents. Correspondence went unanswered for weeks and her health suffered terribly.

The dispute centred upon a family trust and a management company. At one point the husband issued a demand against the company to recover money owing to him. The money was subject to the relationship property claim. It was a flagrant attempt to defeat the wife’s statutory rights, but as a trustee and director she was able to block it. Soon after, she received a letter from her husband’s law firm informing her that the other trustees (her husband and a trust company appointed by him) had decided to remove her as a trustee and director, which would allow him to gain access to the company’s bank accounts and to remove relationship property. We secured injunctions to prevent this from happening.

We eventually negotiated a settlement, and after final documents had been signed, celebrated by going out to lunch. Our client was physically transformed; the worry lines and strain had gone and she was speaking and laughing easily. She and her daughter were planning a short holiday and she was happily laying out the details. It had been a long and grim battle, but at last there was light at the end of the tunnel.

For further information call us on 03 477 8080.

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