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NZ Guide To Financial Freedom

303 EpisodesProduced by Ryan J Melton & Greg MoyleWebsite

Everything you need to know about business, money, and life.


Ep 183: Who Wins In Family Court?

"How the Family Court divides relationship property

General principles

The judge will be guided by some general principles when they divide your relationship property:

men and women have equal status

each partner has made an equal contribution to the relationship so relationship property should usually be shared equally (50:50)

it usually doesn’t matter if 1 person is more responsible than the other for the break-up of the relationship

unpaid work, such as caring for children and running the home, is equal in value to paid work.

Length of relationship

Together more than 3 years

If you’ve been married or in a civil union or de facto relationship for more than 3 years, relationship property will be divided equally, unless the court thinks that would be extremely unfair.

Together less than 3 years

If your marriage or civil union has lasted less than 3 years, the family home and contents will be shared based on what each of you has brought to the marriage or civil union if:

they were owned by 1 of you before the marriage or civil union began

they were received by 1 of you as a gift or under a will during the marriage or civil union

1 of you made a far greater contribution to the marriage or civil union.

Most people who have lived together in a de facto relationship for less than 3 years will not be covered by the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, unless there’s a child involved or 1 person has made a significant contribution to the relationship.

Dependent children

The Family Court must make sure any dependent children are looked after when it divides relationship property. This means the court may:

settle relationship property for the children’s benefit

postpone selling or handing over relationship property if it would cause undue hardship for the person who has day-to-day care of the children

ensure that both people have enough furniture to set up another home, especially if the children will be living there.

Times when relationship property isn’t divided equally

If the income and living standards of 1 person is likely to be much higher than the other person’s after the relationship ends, the court can give more to the other person. The court can do this by:

ordering 1 person to pay maintenance to the other person (this means 1 of you will need to regularly give the other person money for a set amount of time)

giving 1 person a one-off amount of money or more of the relationship property or some of the separate property." Source:

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