The High Court has held a property that a wife settled with her ex-partner became relationship property when she moved her new partner into the home.

The wife split with her former partner and was negotiating to buy out his share in the house. Before she finished the transaction, the wife’s new partner and his family moved into the house.

After 12 years, the wife and her new partner separated, and he made a claim on the house as relationship property. The wife argued the house was separate property because she had an interest before she began a relationship with her new partner.

The Court held that the wife’s interest began when she finalised the settlement with her previous partner. Therefore, the interest in the house came into existence during the new relationship.

Additionally, the wife moved her new family into the house before the settlement took place. The Court accepted that the house had been intended as the family home, and on that ground was also relationship property.

If you are coming out of a relationship, there are options that can be used, such as Trusts and Contracting Out agreements, to aid in protection of assets preferably before, but sometimes during, new relationships.

If you have received assets that may require protection, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

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

Shaun Cousins
Family Lawyer

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.