Separation or loss of a partner is a stressful and upsetting time. And unfortunately, it can also have negative implications for any wealth, property or plans for the future you and your partner have acquired over the span of your relationship – even if you never married.
The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 is the principle piece of legislation that deals with the division of a couple’s property based on “equal-sharing rules” in the event of a separation dispute or the loss of a partner. In 2001, significant reforms to the Act extended its scope to also include de facto relationships. But what exactly constitutes a de facto relationship in the eyes of the law?
What is a “de facto relationship” according to the Property (Relationships) Act?
The PRA lists the basic criteria for a de facto relationship as:
- The relationship is between two people (including same-sex couples)
- Both parties must be 18 years of age or older
- The couple is not married to each other, however they may be married to someone else
- Both parties must live together “as a couple” for a minimum of three years
- If parties have lived together for less than three years, they still may qualify as de facto if they have a child together
For more information on the Property (Relationships) Act and what constitutes living together as a couple, click here.
Want to keep up to date on what’s really happening in NZ property? Subscribe to our new video series Professionally Speaking to get all the latest advice, trends and reports from our experts.