Relationship Property v Seperate Property

All property owned by both partners, even if acquired before the relationship started, must be considered, and classified as either "relationship property" or "separate property". "Property" includes things like houses, cars, furniture, jewellery, money, and household equipment, as well as 'intangible' items like a future benefit in a superannuation scheme, an interest in a business partnership, etc.

Relationship Property

Relationship property is the property that must be divided when the relationship ends. It includes:

  • the family home, even if it was acquired by one partner before the relationship began or by inheritance, gift or via a trust (the only exception is if it is on Maori land)
  • family chattels ( e.g., furniture, vehicles, boats, etc) even if they are only in one person's name
  • property acquired before the relationship began if it was intended for the couple's common use or benefit
  • any common or jointly-owned property
  • all income earned and property bought after the relationship began
  • the value added during the relationship to superannuation and life insurance policies

Seperate Property

Seperate Property is the property of each partner that is not relationship property. The general rule is that it remains that partner's property and doesn't have to be divided according to relationship property law. It includes:

  • inheritances and gifts
  • heirlooms and taonga
  • property acquired via a trust
  • property acquired before the relationship began
  • property acquired with the proceeds of separate property and not intended for the use or benefit of both partners.
  • property that the partners declare is separate under an agreement contracting out of the PRA

Separate property can become relationship property if it gets mixed with relationship property or used for family purposes ( e.g. separate property may become relationship property where it is used to buy or improve relationship property).

More information about Relationship Property

Dividing property if your relationship ends

Equal sharing

Who's covered by the Act?

Relationship Property v Separate Property

What happens if a partner dies?

What about debts?