Relationship property division laws are likely to change, after the Law Commission put forward a series of recommendations to the Government.

The changes that have been proposed would, if made into law, drastically change the way people divide property when they separate.

The major recommendations that would have an effect on the division process include:

  • Changing the way the family home is shared – If the family home was owned by one person prior to the relationship starting, then only the increase in value of it during the relationship would be divided;
  • Greater powers for the Court to divide Trust property- If Trust property has been produced, preserved, or enhanced, during the relationship, then the Court could have greater powers to divide it as if it were relationship property;
  • Introducing Family Income Sharing Arrangements- This could require partners to share income for a period after separation to ensure economic advantages and disadvantages are shared fairly;
  • Prioritising children’s needs by allowing the primary caregiver to remain in the home immediately following separation;
  • Improving the procedure so that delays, and increased Court and legal costs, are minimised.

Of course the Government will need to agree to these changes and write them into law, but these recommendations recognise that society and families have changed since the current law was first introduced 43 years ago.

We will provide updates as soon as any actual changes are made…


Shaun Cousins
Family lawyer
Wellington

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