Pre-nuptials, divorce, second marriage considerations


We have a very strong Family Law practice, our main strengths being settlements of Relationship Property problems, Prenuptial Agreements (Section 21 – Contracting out Agreements) and particularly dealing with Wills, Trusts and Relationship Property issues as they affect mixed “blended” families which are very much to the fore these days and a huge issue.

Defacto Relationship

If you are in a defacto relationship then simplistically, under New Zealand law, your assets are split 50/50 in the absence of a Contracting out Agreement.

  • Contracting out Agreement (Prenuptial) is an Agreement where you either define separate assets; or agree on what remains separate property or simply contract out of the Act entirely and each of your assets always remain yours individually.

A lot of people believe that they can make a homemade Agreement that is binding and that is not the case.

When buying your first house or otherwise, most couples these days look at their respective positions and contributions and their rights and obligations and it is now commonplace to have a Contracting out Agreement or at least a Property Sharing Agreement, even though sometimes that can cause some embarrassment or emotional difficulty, but the sad reality is that without a formal Agreement under the Act, everything is split 50/50 regardless of contribution. Consideration of matters pertaining to this is vitally important.

Second Marriage/Blended Families

With second marriages and blended families, often the rights and obligations to children become muddled, particularly on the death of one partner. Therefore, a Contracting out Agreement (Prenuptial) in this type of situation is absolutely vital.

Your Will does not help without having a Contracting out Agreement (Prenuptial) in place.

Divorce – Dissolution

When people have been separated for more than two years, they are able to obtain a dissolution of their marriage, which we all used to call a divorce.  It is now a dissolution.  We complete dissolutions on a fixed cost basis, whether they be joint or single applications.

 Feel free to telephone for advice in that regard or for any Relationship Property or other Family Law matters.  We can generally give quotes on such matters as Dissolutions (once called Divorce) but the bulk of the Relationship Property work and Matrimonial work is and must be charged on a time and attendance basis.  One never knows what is ahead of clients when actioning Relationship Property files and the goalposts often move as each party receives advice from their respective solicitors.