Contracting out agreements are an effective option in any relationship to prevent certain property from being divided as ‘relationship property’ in accordance with New Zealand law.

The Property (Relationships) Act provides general guidance in the way that upon separation of a qualifying relationship (A marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship of three years or more) all relationship property will be divided equally.

A contracting out agreement details the way property will be divided when the relationship ends, for example by separation, or if one of the partners dies.

The central ‘Why’ to getting a contracting out agreement is to protect certain assets from equal division under general separation rules in New Zealand law.

Alongside this, there are several other factors which emphasise the reasons for getting one:

  • If one partner has entered the relationship with more, or higher value, property than the other;
  • Where one partner has contributed, or intends to contribute, largely to their, or their partner’s, assets;
  • Easily distinguishing between ‘relationship property’ and ‘separate, or individual property’;
  • Where one partner may have children from a previous marriage and wants to provide for them financially in the event of death;
  • To protect inherited property upon separation if used within the relationship.
  • To avoid or minimise disputes as to property upon separation;

Discussing a contracting out agreement early on in your relationship may be awkward, but putting one in place can simplify and streamline the property division process upon separation.

It is also important to review your contracting out agreement regularly, to ensure that it is still fit for the intended purpose.

In doing so it is imperative that all parties seek independent legal advice to keep their best interests in focus.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.


Please note that Rainey Collins is not contracted to provide Legal Aid, other than in the Treaty of Waitangi area.  We therefore are unable to take on any Civil or Family Legal Aid work. If you require Legal Aid in those areas, you can search the list of Legal Aid lawyers on the Ministry of Justice website.