Getting married overseas is a popular choice for many New Zealanders. However, if a couple decides to end their marriage, does the New Zealand legal process allow for an application for divorce where the marriage occurred outside of NZ?

In New Zealand, to have a marriage or civil union dissolved, commonly known as a divorce, you must apply to the Family Court for an Order. There are several criteria to meet to make this application, including:

  •          Providing evidence that the marriage has broken down irreconcilably. The parties must have been living             apart for at least 2 years to demonstrate this.
  •          Arrangements have been made for any children of the marriage or civil union under 16 years old such                 as a Parenting Order, Parenting Agreement, and/or child support arrangements
  •          At least one party is domiciled, or living, in New Zealand. Under the Family Court Rules, ‘domiciled’                       simply means that New Zealand is considered your permanent home. 

There is no requirement which indicates that the parties must have been married in New Zealand for this Dissolution Order to be made under New Zealand law.

So long as one party is permanently living in New Zealand at the time of application, the parties can apply for an Order to dissolve the marriage or civil union. One party can also apply if the other Party does not consent to the dissolution or does not want to file a joint application


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Shaun Cousins