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  • Dino Montepara

Sorting out your relationship property






The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 ("PRA") applies to couples who are married, in a civil union partnership, a de facto relationship, as well as same-sex couples


The PRA presumes an equal contribution by each partner and aims to achieve a just division of relationship property when the relationship ends. A partner’s contribution is not limited to financial contributions but also other things such as looking after the children, the household or property belonging to the couple.


Couples may prefer that the PRA does not apply to all or some of their relationship property. This could either be in anticipation of or during a relationship, or at the end of a relationship. A contracting-out agreement would then be necessary to achieve this. The PRA sets out certain formalities which are required for a valid contracting-out agreement. These requirements include that:


  • each party must have independent legal advice before signing the agreement;

  • the signature of each party must be witnessed by a lawyer;

  • the lawyer witnessing the signature must certify that he or she explained the effect and implication of the agreement to that party.


It is important that these requirements are met to have a valid agreement. Otherwise, you may have to approach a court to validate the agreement (which can be expensive). It can also result in assets being exposed to creditors which you may have thought were taken out of their reach.


For any advice on PRA or any other legal matters you can contact Kemp Barristers & Solicitors at info@kempsolicitors.co.nz or 412-6000.

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