What relationships should the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 cover?

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 applies to three types of relationships: marriages, civil unions and de facto relationships. The Act requires people who have left these relationships to divide their property in the same way, regardless of what type of relationship they were in. If the relationships have not lasted three years, special rules apply….

What property should the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 cover?

One of the most important things the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 does is identify what property partners should share when a relationship ends. The first step is for the partners to take stock of all the property they own, either individually or jointly. The law only applies to conventional forms of property rather than other…

How should the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 divide property?

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976’s central purpose is to divide a couple’s property when their relationship ends. The law’s most well-known feature is the rule of equal sharing. Each partner gets an equal share of the couple’s relationship property. You might have heard this described as the ‘50-50 split’ or a ‘right to half the…

What should happen when equal sharing does not lead to equality?

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 says that when people in a relationship separate, they should each get an equal share of the property connected with that relationship. But equal sharing will not always mean that partners leave the relationship on an equal footing. In some relationships, the partners take on different roles, which can leave…

What should happen to property held on trusts?

Many families in New Zealand use trusts to hold property. Around one out of every seven homes in New Zealand is held on trust. Many people have created a trust, or they are involved as a trustee or beneficiary. Trusts can cause problems when people in a relationship separate. The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 says…

How should people resolve property matters in and out of court?

When people separate, the law should help them work out how to divide their property. The process should be as inexpensive, simple and speedy as possible, but still be fair. Many people who separate will divide their property without going to court. Some people will not even get legal advice. Because no one collects information…

Can partners make their own agreement about property?

When a relationship ends, people do not need to divide property according to the Property (Relationship) Act 1976. Instead, the law allows partners to make their own agreement about how they divide their property. There are two types of agreement. First, partners thinking of entering a relationship, or who are already in a relationship, can…

Tikanga Māori and the Property (Relationships) Act 1976

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 directs how a couple are to divide their property if they separate or one of them dies. It is important social legislation that affects virtually all New Zealanders either directly or indirectly. It is important that the law recognises tikanga Māori relating to the family. We want to know if…

What should happen when people or property have a link to another country?

Many relationships in New Zealand have a link to another country. Sometimes the partners have property overseas. Or sometimes the partners have come from another country, or the partners might spend some of their time living overseas. These situations can give rise to what we call cross-border issues. When a couple separate and there is…

What should happen when one partner dies?

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 applies when a couple separates. It also applies when a person in a relationship dies. Some people may leave little property for their partners under their wills. In fact, sometimes a surviving partner may have been better off if the couple had separated. The law tries to avoid that situation….