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Avoiding Claims on Trusts When a Couple Separates

Avoiding Claims on Trusts When a Couple Separates
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Family trusts can be an effective tool for protecting assets but what happens when the relationship breaks down and a couple separates? This presentation will examine key case law developments concerning claims against trusts in circumstances where the relationship and family unit has broken down. It will consider strategies to protect trusts already in existence, as well as trusts yet to be formed, and briefly discuss the latest law reform proposals in relation to relationship property and trusts.

This seminar will include:

  • Constructive trust claims against family trusts
  • Section 182 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980 as a discretionary ‘relationship property trust busting’ remedy
  • Claims that rights and entitlements under family trusts amount to relationship property
  • Strategies for protecting trusts in existence and trusts yet to be formed.

Learning objectives

By attending this seminar you will understand:

  • The ways in which trusts can be challenged in relationship property proceedings.
  • How to advise clients about protecting their existing trusts from future challenges.
  • How to develop strategies to minimise the likelihood of a successful claim.

Who should attend

All family lawyers and lawyers advising on trusts.


A short paper, in PDF format, together with a copy of the powerpoint presentation will be emailed out prior to the seminar.


  • 4.00pm - 6.00pm (tea and coffee available on arrival)

Fee (incl GST)

In Short

  • $125 - NZLS members and Associate members
  • $175 - Non-members
  • Live web stream group pricing available! Click here

Do you want to register more than one person for this course? Click here
Download registration form

Christchurch 25 September
Live Web Stream 25 September


  Stephanie Marsden
Barrister, Canterbury Chambers, Christchurch

Stephanie has practiced as a lawyer since 1989. Before joining the independent bar in November 2011, she worked for larger Christchurch firms. Her practice is almost exclusively in resolution of relationship property disputes involving high value assets, complex asset ownership structures and estate claims. Stephanie is a member of the New Zealand Law Society Family Law Section advisory panel making submissions on law reform. She has presented seminars for the Canterbury-Westland Branch of the New Zealand Law Society.

  Dr Rhonda Powell
Barrister, Athene Trust Law, Christchurch

Rhonda is a Christchurch barrister with a specialist practice in the law of trusts. She primarily works on a consultancy basis for law firms and other barristers in the areas of trusts, estates and increasingly, relationship property law. Rhonda has worked for law firms in London, Melbourne and New Zealand, advising wealthy individuals and families about issues of trusts, succession planning and asset protection. She is an Associate of the Society of Trusts & Estates Practitioners and a member of the New Zealand Law Society Canterbury-Westland Branch Trusts Committee for the 2019/2021 period. Prior to commencing practice as a barrister, Rhonda was a Senior Lecturer in law at the University of Canterbury. She has over 20 academic publications, including a sole authored book and an edited collection of “feminist judgments”.

Cancellation and refund policy

If written notice of cancellation of a registration arrives before the day of the seminar we will refund the registration fee, less an administration fee of $40. If you are unable to attend, you may send a substitute - to correctly assign CPD credit, CLE must be notified in advance. NZLS CLE Ltd reserves the right to cancel or reschedule seminars if necessary.

freephone (within NZ)
0800 333 111


04 472 7837

04 463 2986

DX SP 20202
PO Box 5041
Wellington 6140
New Zealand