Property (Relationships) Act 1976
The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 is the main Act in respect of relationship property, applying to partners who are married, in a civil union or a de facto relationship.
There is a strong presumption under that Act that the parties will share equally in the family home and "relationship property" on separation, but there are exceptions to this principle.
There are some assets which you may not have contemplated as relationship property that are deemed to be so under the Act. These may include superannuation, rights in a trust, Kiwisaver, debts, or where contributions have been made to separate property.
Assets held in a trust may also be be considered relationship property in a number of circumstances. These include if one party has a power to appoint and remove trustees or to control the trust in another way, or if the trust can be seen as an ante nuptial or post nuptial settlement under s 182 Family Proceedings Act 1980.
A contracting out agreement may be entered into prior to or during the parties' relationship for the purpose of determining the distribution of assets upon separation, death, or for estate planning purposes.
To be valid, certain statutory requirements must be met. One of these requirements is that each partner receives independent legal advice.
For advice on the implications of the Property (Relationships) Act as it affects you and suitable terms to include in your agreement, contact Becker & Co.