Property (Relationships) Act 1976

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Reprint as at 1 March 2017

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Property (Relationships) Act 1976

Public Act
1976 No 166
Date of assent
14 December 1976
see section 1(2)

Act name: amended, on 1 February 2002, by section 5(2) of the Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 5).


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


Title [Repealed]
1Short Title and commencement
1APurpose of this Part
1BStatus of this Part
1CWhat this Act is about
1DHow this Act is arranged
1EPart 2 (Preliminary provisions)
1FPart 3 (Application of this Act)
1GPart 4 (Division of relationship property)
1HPart 5 (Relationship property and creditors)
1IPart 6 (Contracting out)
1JPart 7 (Proceedings under this Act)
1KPart 8 (Division of property where one spouse or partner dies)
1LPart 9 (Transitional provisions and savings)
1MPurpose of this Act
2AMeaning of marriage
2ABMeaning of civil union
2BMarriage includes immediately preceding de facto relationship
2BAACivil union includes immediately preceding de facto relationship
2BAImmediately preceding marriage or civil union
2CMeaning of de facto partner
2DMeaning of de facto relationship
2EMeaning of relationship of short duration
2FDate at which shares to be determined
2GDate at which value of property to be determined
2HDetermination of use to which property put
3Act to bind Crown
4Act a code
4AOther enactments to be read subject to this Act
4BLaw relating to trustees preserved
4CApplication to existing and future de facto relationships
4DApplication to de facto relationships that end on separation or death
5Act to apply only during joint lifetime of spouses [Repealed]
6Maori land not affected
7Application to movable or immovable property
7AApplication where spouses or partners agree
8Relationship property defined
9Separate property defined
9AWhen separate property becomes relationship property
10Property acquired by succession or by survivorship or as a beneficiary under a trust or by gift
10AApplication of Act to division of relationship property where both spouses or partners alive
10BApplication of Act to division of relationship property on death of spouse or partner
10CApplication of Act in other circumstances
11Division of relationship property
11AWhere family home sold
11BCompensation for absence of interest in family home
12AValuation of homestead
13Exception to equal sharing
14Marriages of short duration
14AACivil unions of short duration
14ADe facto relationships of short duration
15Court may award lump sum payments or order transfer of property
15AOrders where spouse or partner has contributed to increase in value of separate property
16Adjustment when each spouse or partner owned home at date relationship began
17Sustenance of separate property
17ADiminution of separate property
18Contributions of spouses or partners
18AEffect of misconduct of spouses or partners
18BCompensation for contributions made after separation
18CCompensation for dissipation of relationship property after separation
19Effect of Act while property is undivided
20ARights of creditors preserved
20BProtected interest in family home
20CPayment of protected interest on bankruptcy of other spouse or partner
20DCalculation of net value of relationship property
20ECompensation for satisfaction of personal debts
20FApplication of Joint Family Homes Act 1964
21Spouses or partners may contract out of this Act
21ASpouses or partners may settle differences by agreement
21BSurviving spouse or partner and personal representative may agree on division of property
21CCourt may be asked to approve agreement between surviving spouse or partner and personal representative
21DSubject matter of agreement
21ERegulations prescribing model forms of agreement
21FAgreement void unless complies with certain requirements
21GOther grounds of invalidity not affected
21HCourt may give effect to agreement in certain circumstances
21IAgreements entered into by minors
21JCourt may set agreement aside if would cause serious injustice
21KAgreements made for valuable consideration
21LEnforcement of agreements
21MConsequences of invalidity of agreement
21NOther powers and capacities not affected
21OApplication of Act to relationship property not subject to agreement
21PAgreements made before 1 August 2001 between de facto partners
21QAgreements made before 1 August 2001 between spouses relating to division of property on death
21RAgreements to have effect as if Act not passed
21SAgreements made under previous section 21 before 1 August 2001
21TAgreements made under this Part before 1 February 2002, where marriage or de facto relationship ends before that date
23Who can apply
24Time limits for making applications
25When court may make orders
26Orders for benefit of children of marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship
26APostponement of sharing
27Occupation orders
28Orders with respect to tenancy
28AFactors affecting occupation orders and orders with respect to tenancy
28BAncillary furniture order
28CFurniture required to equip another household
28DEffect of furniture orders
29Orders when property subject to hire purchase agreement
30Orders in relation to insurance policies
31Orders in relation to superannuation rights
32Orders relating to maintenance and child support
33Ancillary powers of court
34Discretion of court as to orders
35Attendance at hearings
35APublication of reports of proceedings
36Evidence [Repealed]
37Persons entitled to be heard
37ACourt may appoint lawyer for children
38Inquiries, and settlement of schemes
38ATransfer of proceedings to High Court
39Right of appeal to High Court
39AProcedure on appeal to High Court [Repealed]
39BAppeals to Court of Appeal
41Registration of orders
42Notice of interest against title
43Dispositions may be restrained
44Dispositions may be set aside
44AApplication of sections 44B and 44C
44BCourt may require party to disclose information about dispositions of property to trust
44CCompensation for property disposed of to trust
44DDefinition of qualifying company
44ECourt may require party to disclose information about dispositions of property to qualifying company
44FCompensation for property disposed of to qualifying company
45Family chattels not to be disposed of
46Protection of mortgagee
47Agreements to defeat creditors void
48Incidence of orders against personal representative of spouse [Repealed]
49Legal capacity of married women
50No restraints upon anticipation
51Proceedings in tort
52Minors may apply without guardian ad litem
52APriority of claims where marriage or civil union and de facto relationship
52BPriority of claims where 2 de facto relationships
53Rules of court and regulations
53APower to prescribe specified sum
54Exemption from stamp duty [Repealed]
55Application of this Part
56Application to existing and future wills
57Application under Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949 or Family Protection Act 1955 not precluded
58Rights of creditors preserved
59Payment of protected interest where estate insolvent
60Incidence of orders against personal representative of spouse or partner
61Surviving spouse or partner may choose option
62Time limit for making choice
63Surviving spouse or partner may not commence proceedings before making election
64Position of surviving spouse or civil union partner if separation order made or marriage or civil union dissolved
65How choice to be made
66Choice of option to be notified to certain persons
67Choice irrevocable
68Effect of failure to make choice
69Chosen option may be set aside
70Choice may not be set aside if estate finally distributed
71Distribution of estate before choice made
72Distribution of estate after choice made but before proceedings commenced
73Distribution of estate while proceedings pending
74Distribution of estate not to be disturbed
75Effect on application of Act of choice of division under this Act
76Effect on will or intestacy of choice of division under this Act
77Court may permit surviving spouse or partner to take under will or on intestacy
78Priority of entitlement of surviving spouse or partner
79Date at which shares determined
80Classification of property
81Presumption that property of deceased spouse or partner is relationship property
82Presumption that property acquired by estate of deceased spouse or partner is relationship property
83Relationship property defined
84Separate property defined
85Marriages, civil unions, and de facto relationships of short duration
86Compensation for actions after separation or death
87Surviving spouse or partner may challenge agreement
88Who can apply
89Time for commencement of proceedings
90Time limits for commencing proceedings
91Qualifications on application of sections 25 to 34 and 43 to 44F
92Persons entitled to be heard
94Incidence of orders against personal representative of spouse or partner
95Effect on application of Act of choice of will or intestacy
96Transitional provisions applying on and from 1 February 1977
97Transitional provisions applying on and from 1 February 2002
97ATransitional provisions applying in respect of section 2BAA
98Savings applying on and from 1 February 1977
99Savings applying on and from 1 February 2002
Reprint notes
Title [Repealed]

Title: repealed, on 1 February 2002, by section 4 of the Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 5).