A recent High Court decision considered whether a notice of claim could be upheld against properties owned by a company. During the parties’ separation, the wife lodged a notice of claim against multiple properties owned by a company of which the husband was sole Director and shareholder.

A notice of claim may be lodged against a property during a relationship or after separation if a spouse or partner has a beneficial or legal interest in that property. A notice of claim alerts third parties that someone has an interest in the property. This prevents the property from being disposed of, or acquired by a third party.

To successfully lodge a notice of claim, the property must be shown to be potentially subject to a relationship property claim. This requires the applicant to:

  • have been in a qualifying de facto relationship, civil union, or marriage; and
  • have an interest in, or entitlement to, the property, under a relationship property claim.

The Applicant’s spouse or partner also must have either disposed of the property or hold a beneficial interest in, or entitlement to, the property that will allow the Applicant to make a claim. This also applies if the property is owned by a company or a Trust.

The Court decided that being a sole Director and shareholder did not give the husband an interest in the properties owned by the company, rather he only had an ownership interest in the shares of the company. Therefore, the Applicant could not prove she had an interest in the properties owned by the husband’s companies and the notice of claim was removed.

If you have concerns about a property that is subject to a relationship property claim, it pays to seek advice from an experienced professional that can advise you on your rights.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.


Please note that Rainey Collins is not contracted to provide Legal Aid, other than in the Treaty of Waitangi area.  We therefore are unable to take on any Civil or Family Legal Aid work. If you require Legal Aid in those areas, you can search the list of Legal Aid lawyers on the Ministry of Justice website.