Who is Covered by the Relationship Property Act in New Zealand?

Couples who are married or in a civil union.

If a couple has been married or in a civil union for over three years, they are covered by the Relationship Property Act. 

If the couple were in a de facto relationship prior to marriage or a civil union, this period of time is treated as if it was part of the marriage/civil union’s overall length.

De facto relationships

A de facto relationship is a relationship between two people over the age of 18 who are living together but not married.

In order for the Relationship Property Act to apply,  a couple must be in a de facto relationship for at least three years.


Relationships shorter than three years

De facto relationships less than three years in length are usually not covered by the Act unless:

  • The couple have a child together
  • One party has made a significant contribution to the relationship (financial or non-financial)
  • The court believes that not applying the Act to the given situation would be unjust or unfair.

If any of the above situations apply, the Act may be applied. However, special rules may be present depending on the situation.

How can we help?

When a divorce or break-up happens, it is often difficult for the people involved to follow the Relationship Property Act. This is due to the many clauses and conditions which can affect the final outcome.

As relationship property investigators, we can perform a thorough investigation to determine what each party is legally entitled to under the Act. This will make things easier for both of you.