Relationship Property

We have specialist relationship property lawyers to help you with your marital property issues. Our expertise includes:

  • Division of property                        
  • Property sharing agreements                        
  • Asset planning and creditor protection                        
  • Separation agreements                        
  • Section 21 agreements                        
  • Relationship property claims against trusts

Our experience is that many clients are confused about their relationship property entitlements under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. Although this Act has been in force since 2002 there are many grey areas which require careful consideration and analysis by lawyers who have experience and expertise in this field.

The relationship property umbrella encompasses two different concepts;

Dividing property upon separation;

and Protecting property at the beginning of a relationship

Dividing Relationship Property Upon Separation: Separation can be a difficult enough time for couples emotionally without the added complication of having to divide assets and work through care issues for their children. The Property (Relationships) Act has been described as a ‘minefield’ and it is certainly the case that the provisions of the Act need to be worked through with a great deal of care.

Our family team has the expertise and experience to advise you on all aspects of the Act including economic disparity, sustenance of and contributions to separate property and how the status of assets may have changed depending on the duration of a relationship. We can then draft a Relationship Property Agreement that maximises our client’s entitlements under the Act and which gives them certainty that no other claims will be brought against them under the Property (Relationships) Act in the future.

Contracting Out Agreements

Under the Property (Relationships) Act many assets which were the separate property of one party will become relationship property (and therefore equally divisible between the parties upon separation) where the parties have been in a relationship for three years or more. By entering into a Contracting Out Agreement (previously known as a pre-nuptial agreement) couples can earmark those items of property that they wish to retain as their separate property. A Contracting Out Agreement can also deal with such things as future earnings and the acquisition of property in the future. It can also provide a formula for the division of property should a relationship end.

Contracting Out Agreements are popular with clients who bring significant assets into a relationship which they wish to have preserved as their separate property.

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.