Specialist Fields

Relationship Property - our tips for you

  • The Property (Relationships) Act automatically applies to all married and civil union couples and those who have been living together in a de facto situation for a minimum of three years.

  • The home you live in (family home) and family chattels (which can include cars) are always relationship property no matter whose name they are in or how they were acquired, unless they are designated separate property by an agreement.

  • Debts may be classified as relationship debts or personal debts. The responsibility for relationship debts is shared but personal debts remain the responsibility of the person who incurred them. Even though a debt may be in one partner’s name only (say on a credit card), that does not mean it is a personal debt – it will depend on the purpose for which the debt was incurred.

  • The only way to prevent the PRA from applying to your property is for you and your partner to enter into a contracting-out agreement. This allows you to make your own rules about the ownership of your property (including future property) and how it is to be divided if your relationship ends.

  • If one partner dies, the surviving partner (married, civil union or de facto) can choose either to claim a half share of relationship property under the PRA or to accept what they have been left in their partner’s will or, if there is no will, the set share that the Administration Act would provide.

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