Are you separating or starting a new relationship? Learn more about your rights in protecting and dividing your relationship property.
Relationship property refers to a couple’s property that is to be divided when they separate or one of them dies. Under the relevant relationship property law in NZ, couples include:
- Married couples
- Civil union couples
- Couples who have lived in a de facto relationship
An experienced relationship property lawyer can be invaluable, whether you are in a new relationship, separating, divorcing or if your partner has passed away.
What does property law in NZ say?
Under New Zealand law, each partner is presumed to have contributed equally to their relationship. It therefore aims for an equal division of relationship property
As each person’s circumstances are different and some can be complex, it’s recommended that you consult a relationship property lawyer, even if your relationship has only been for a short period.
What is relationship property?
Relationship property includes:
- The family home
- Property purchased after the relationship began
- Vehicles and boats
- Items such as furniture, household fittings, household equipment and appliances
- Property that belonged to one person before the relationship, but that has been used by both people during the relationship
- Income earned after the relationship began
- Value added to superannuation and life insurance policies during the relationship (this can include KiwiSaver)
What is separate property?
There are some exceptions to relationship property, such as any inheritance or gifts you receive. Learn more here about what constitutes separate property in a relationship.
Beginning a relationship – making a relationship property agreement
When you have built up assets before a relationship, it is always wise to seek legal advice at the start of a relationship. Knowing your relationship property entitlements helps you to keep things clear and fair if you separate or one of you dies.
Shine Lawyers can help you by drafting a relationship property agreement. This can also be known as a contracting out agreement, or a prenuptial agreement (or simply ‘prenup’). Shine Lawyers can also review and advise you on a draft agreement that has been prepared by your partner’s relationship property lawyer.
Ending a relationship
The end of a relationship can be challenging, both emotionally and legally. Our experienced team will provide clear, calm, and effective advice to help support you and navigate this difficult time.
After a breakup, there can be confusion surrounding what is separate property and what is relationship property. You may be uncertain about how to divide the property. We have the expertise to clarify your unique situation and advise you on where you stand.
What about children after a separation?
When children are involved, Shine Lawyers can also help you to navigate parenting arrangements calmly and effectively, to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Expert relationship property lawyers – how Shine can help
Shine’s experienced relationship property lawyers can help with all your relationship property law questions. Our focus is to support our clients and get the best possible resolution for them. We are experts in:
- Helping our clients get a fair and equitable settlement when a relationship ends
- Protecting our clients’ rights when they embark on a new relationship.
We go above and beyond for our clients. We aim to minimise the stress and difficulty of separation and help you navigate the process confidently.
Although it can be ideal to resolve relationship property disputes without resorting to litigation, at Shine Lawyers New Zealand, we have the skills and experience to litigate in the Family Court or High Court.
How we can help you with relationship property in NZ?
Shine Lawyers can advise you on all aspects of ending a de facto relationship, civil union, or marriage, including:
- Your entitlements under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976
- Separation agreements, also known as relationship property agreements
- Relationship property litigation
- Dissolution of marriage applications
- Parenting agreements
- Parenting disputes
- Navigating the Family Court process
Who is Shine Lawyers New Zealand's Relationship Property team?
Shine Lawyers’ Relationship Property team includes some of the firm’s most experienced solicitors and support staff. The team includes: