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The way in which you start a file has implications for its course. In a file involving relationship property or a section 21 agreement, knowing what to cover at the initial interview and how to correspond with the other lawyer/party are key. Preliminary Stages provides practical guidance on conducting such files at the vital early stages.

The middle stages of a relationship property matter will determine whether the parties go to court or reach a negotiated settlement. Middle Stages outlines disclosure obligations and entitlements, set out approaches to negotiation, and highlight ‘red flags’ should a matter proceed to court.

The third and final session in this popular series, Final Stages, addresses hearing-related matters, such as procedure, evidence and argument, to assist practitioners to maximise the chances of a successful outcome for their clients.

Learning outcomes

Preliminary Stages:

  • Understand the steps to take when approached by a client involved in a separation and a client entering a section 21 agreement.
  • Gain practical insights into eliciting information from your client and how to approach  sensitive issues.
  • Receive a refresher about the applicable Rules (Conduct and Client Care, Family Courts) in this context.

Middle Stages:

In the context of a ‘standard’ relationship property matter:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of your obligations and entitlements around disclosure; 
  • Gain insights into the different approaches to negotiation, and their relative suitability depending on the parties and circumstances; and
  • Receive a ‘red flags’ checklist for when a matter proceeds to court. 

Final stages:

In respect of a Relationship Property case:

  • Receive guidance about how to prepare and argue a relationship property case in the Family Court. 
  • Gain insights into how to brief, lead and cross-examine witnesses.
  • Gain a better understanding of how to prepare and present oral argument.
  • Strengthen your knowledge of the relevant procedures in the Family Court.
  • Enhance your understanding in respect of orders, judgments and follow-on matters.

Who should view? 

Family and relationship property lawyers with up to 3 years’ PQE

Order timeframe

Access details will be delivered via email within 15 minutes.


Claudia Farry

Claudia specialises in complex relationship property cases, often involving trusts.   She was admitted to the bar in 1999 and has practiced as a barrister sole since that time.  She is now a member of O'Connell Street Barristers.  Claudia has also practiced extensively in the area of Human Rights law and draws on this experience in her current practice, particularly when interviewing clients which, in relationship property matters, is often an emotionally challenging experience for them. 

Zara Matheson

Zara specialises in medical law, trusts, estates and relationship property law, and has practised in these areas since 1996.  Zara has appeared in the Family Court, High Court and Court of Appeal.  Prior to going to the bar, Zara was a senior solicitor in Russell McVeagh's Auckland litigation department.   Zara has also taught the litigation component of the College of Law's professionals course. 


Antonia Fisher QC