I am a nz resident living in malasyai while my spouse is living in nz .. we have been living like this for about 20

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Customer: hi I am a nz resident living in malasyai while my spouse is living in nz .. we have been living like this for about 20 years and I spend some 1- 1.5 months total each year together .
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: no i have not .
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: i have not since i want to find out what are my options are , time line, and procedure ?
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: there are proerties that we have acquired in those years and there would be an interest in sharing or splitting i assume
Answered by Chris The Lawyer in 48 mins 2 years ago
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

I am not really sure about your question. Are you separating and do you want to know how this will apply to the property in New Zealand. Joint property is divided equally under New Zealand law although any property you own in Malaysia has to be divided according to Malaysia family law

Customer
in answwer to your question " are you separating ?" the answer is YES .
Q1 : what should be my first step towrads getting a divorce ?Q2 : Do I need to prove that I am legally separated ? For a minimum of 2 years period ? Does the fact that I merely spend about a month in total each calendar year for the past 20 years qualify me to say that the above is a separation ?Q3 The marriage was registered in Malaysia and do i need to engage a NZ solicitor or can I engagae a malaysian counterpart ?Q4 How do I initiate the process of getting a divorce ? How long is such a process normally ?Q5 We have assetts acquired both in malaysia and in NZ ? How is this normally resolved by each own solicitors (* Q3 is again referred to ie do i need a nz solicitor for this or can it be done by a malaysian solicitor ?)Thank you for your assistance rendered thus far .
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If you want to bring this marriage to an end starting with separation, all you need is a verbal agreement with your spouse that you are separating. It is always useful to keep a diary note of the date of this decision, because after two years you can apply for the marriage to be dissolved. You can use a New Zealand lawyer for the property in New Zealand and to have the marriage dissolved in New Zealand. I am unsure of the divorce law in Malaysia, but I can tell you that the New Zealand law about dissolving the marriage is very simple. Most people apply for the marriage to be dissolved themselves without using a lawyer and the only ground is two years apart. The division of property is a different issue which is not affected by the dissolution of marriage. As soon as you agree to separate then you can start to divide the property. The New Zealand Family Court only has power over the New Zealand property. But most people negotiate an agreement over division of the relationship property. The Property Relationships Act 1976 sets out the requirements for division of the property and for the requirements of an agreement. Each of you will need their own independent lawyer to advise on the agreement. If you cannot reach an agreement, then the family Court will is your other option.

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

The property agreement can take into account the Malaysia property, but you would need to ensure that any such agreement complied with Malaysia law as well as New Zealand law

Customer
Hi Chris , according to you , a verbal agreement followed by a diary note will be suffice to initiate the legal separation for a period of two years ?Q :If both parties can agree to a mutual dissolution of the union , can it be sufficient for it to be commenced without the two year separation period ?Q : If the above , ie mutual agreement is possible , then can the division of the property be made without the involvement of the family court ? Then i which case, is engaging a solicitor a requirement or what you do suggest ? Thank you ?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You cannot reduce the separation period-the only ground for dissolving the marriage is two years of separation. You cannot reduce this by mutual agreement. The property can be divided by mutual agreement but to be binding under the Property Relationships Act, each side must be advised by independent lawyers who certify the agreement. If you do this you will not need to go to the Family Court

Customer
Hi Chris ,
Q if i wanted to initate the process of getting a divorce asap , What are the avenues available to me ,besides the one we had discussed ,ie via a legal separation ?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If you separate from your spouse and tell her you are doing so, that is all that is needed. Under New Zealand family law the process of separation is quite informal. A verbal agreement to separate or a decision to leave with the intention of separating is all that is required. You can do so, then wait two years of separation to apply for the marriage to be dissolved. Often when people talk about getting divorced what they are really talking about is the process of dividing property or sometimes parenting arrangements for children. But you can divide relationship property at any time and it is not dependent on whether you have commenced a formal separation or whether you have just told your spouse you intend separating. You can commence to divide the property at any time.

Customer
Hi Chris, can I ask if my spouse decides to contest and conrtradicts that such a verbal agreement was ever given ? If this was to occur what would be the consequence ? Would it then go on to a trial or would the divorce be still be granted ?
Thanks
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

It is extremely unusual to have a spouse contest the date of separation. If you think this is possible, ensure you make a diary note of the date you tell her the marriage is over and you are separating. You could then refer to the note if she contested this

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