What is relationship property?

by | 3 Mar 2021 | Family, Litigation

Under New Zealand Property (Relationships) Act, the general principle is that separating spouses are each entitled to half of all relationship property.

So what is relationship property?

First, your family home is relationship property. Even if the legal title to the family home is under only 1 spouse’s name, the other spouse is still entitled to halve of the value of that property.

Second, as a general rule, all property acquired by either party after the date of the commencement of the relationship is relationship property (even if it is only under a single person’s name). This includes all property acquisitions and income from employment.

Third, any property acquired for the couple’s common benefit is relationship property. This could include property purchased prior to the commencement of the relationship, or property purchased using one party’s separate property, if the property was purchased for the couple’s common benefit.

As you can see, the law gives relationship property a very wide definition. Therefore, the rule of thumb is that, unless the couple signed a contracting out agreement, most of the property in the relationship owned by either party is likely to be relationship property.

Lastly, it is important to note that immovable property outside of New Zealand is not under the jurisdiction of the New Zealand Courts. Therefore, real estate located overseas will not be regarded as relationship property, but cash saved in overseas bank accounts can be relationship property.

Speak to us at Capstone Law if you have any questions about New Zealand relationship property law, we would be happy to assist you.

Kenneth Sun

Kenneth Sun

Partner & CEO

Kenneth is the founding partner of Capstone Law.  Kenneth has a MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and he was also awarded the prestigious Dean’s Academic Achievement Award for graduating from the University of Auckland law school in the top 5% of his class. Kenneth has worked at some of the best law firms in the country before starting Capstone Law.


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