If you can’t agree on di­vid­ing prop­erty in sep­a­ra­tion get help

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS -

If you are mar­ried, in a civil union or a de facto re­la­tion­ship and de­cide to sep­a­rate, you can agree be­tween your­selves how to share your prop­erty and the court doesn’t have to be in­volved.

But, if you want to be able to en­force the agree­ment through the court, your agree­ment must be in writ­ing and both of you must have had in­de­pen­dent le­gal ad­vice. The Fam­ily Court can be­come in­volved if you can’t agree or if your agree­ment is un­fair or doesn’t work. The court will iden­tify the re­la­tion­ship prop­erty, value it and de­cide how it will be di­vided be­tween you and your ex­part­ner.

If you have been to­gether more than three years, re­la­tion­ship prop­erty will be di­vided equally, un­less the court thinks that would be ex­tremely un­fair. If your mar­riage or civil union has lasted less than three years, the fam­ily home and con­tents will be shared based on what each of you has brought to the re­la­tion­ship if: they were owned by one of you be­fore you got to­gether, they were re­ceived by one of you as a gift or in­her­i­tance dur­ing the re­la­tion­ship or one of you made a far greater con­tri­bu­tion to the re­la­tion­ship. Most peo­ple who have lived to­gether in a de facto re­la­tion­ship for less than three years will not be cov­ered by the Prop­erty (Re­la­tion­ships) Act 1976, un­less there’s a child in­volved or one per­son has made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the re­la­tion ship.

Re­la­tion­ship prop­erty cov­ers things of fi­nan­cial value gained dur­ing the re­la­tion­ship and it is im­por­tant to note the fam­ily home (even if it is in the name of only a hus­band, wife or part­ner) and its con­tents, chat­tels, are never con­sid­ered sep­a­rate prop­erty. For more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing this visit jus­tice.govt.nz/fam­ily/re­la­tion­ship­prop­erty or seek le­gal ad­vice.

For free con­fi­den­tial ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion on this or any other mat­ter visit the Palmer­ston North Ci­ti­zens Ad­vice Bureau (CAB) in Han­cock Com­mu­nity House, 77 King St. Open­ing hours, Mon-Fri from 9 am-4.30 pm, call 357-0647 or 0800 367 222.

We have free le­gal ad­vice by qual­i­fied lawyers most Thurs­day evenings at 7.30 pm, and a JP is avail­able on Tues­days from noon to 2.30pm. No ap­point­ment is nec­es­sary for ei­ther ser­vice.

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