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Family lawyers warn Wilson over 50/50 split

Tony Ryall
National Justice Spokesman

19 July 2000

Family lawyers warn Wilson over 50/50 split

The second day of oral submissions to the Select Committee has again seen family law practitioners identify serious problems with the Government's changes to matrimonial property, says National's Justice spokesman Tony Ryall.

"Prominent Auckland family lawyer and former MP Patricia Schnauer told us that Labour's legislation will force most disputes over relationship property into the court - creating huge workload problems for the Family Court.

"Mrs Schnauer said lawyers will have a field day and enough work emanating from this Bill to last them a lifetime. As usual it is the public who will pay the price for such poor law making.

"Mrs Schnauer identified the move from the 50/50 split rule which achieved equal division to the new measure of equality of outcome as a major problem with this legislation.

"Mrs Schauer told the committee that the Government's proposal is for judges to have the discretion to award lump sum payments to achieve equality of outcome. This is not based on the contribution to the marriage partnership, but on the possible future economic performance or future circumstances of the two parties.

"She went on to say that it is impossible to predict the future and what will happen when the projection proves to be false or unfair.

"The disparity that can occur when a relationship breaks down must be addressed but Labour's proposal will create more problems than it solves and will prevent both parties from getting on with their lives," Mr Ryall said.

Ends

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