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Equal sharing to stay for now

Equal sharing to stay for now

Equal sharing to stay for now

Tuesday 17 December, 2019

See our July 2019 article here, for our report into the Law Commission’s proposals to reform relationship property law in New Zealand.

In July 2019, the Law Commission released its report on the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. The Report made 140 recommendations on a wide range of topics, but the most significant proposals were:

  • That the family home should not automatically be subject to equal sharing if one partner owned the property before the relationship began;
  • That the court should have greater powers to access and divide trust property if the trust property was produced, preserved, or enhanced by the relationship; and
  • The introduction of new Family Income Sharing Arrangements where separating partners would continue to share their income for up to five years after separation (and up to ten years in certain circumstances).

The Law Commission also recommended that there should be a separate review of relationships ending on death, within the context of a broader review of succession law. The Government accepted that recommendation and the Minister of Justice referred a review of succession law to the Law Commission for its 2019/2020 work programme.

However, the Government has recently decided that it would be undesirable to have different rules for relationships ending by separation and relationships ending by death. It has therefore decided to shelve the Law Commission’s recommended reforms of relationship property law in New Zealand until the Law Commission has completed its succession review, so that the Government can consider both sets of recommendations together.

The Law Commission is currently determining the scope and timeframe of its succession law review, but it is safe to say that we are unlikely to see further Government action on this until after the 2020 election.


If you have any relationship property questions, contact our Relationship Property team or complete our online Family Law Initial Assessment.

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