Why Relationship Property Agreements Make Sense


It can be a hard conversation to have but if you’re getting married or have been together with your partner for a few years, it could be the right thing to do to see a lawyer and arrange a Prenuptial Agreement, also known as a Contracting Out Agreement. Especially if you are going into a relationship with unequal assets or if there are children from a previous relationship, a prenup is a good idea.

“It involves making an agreement to contract out of the Property (Relationships) Act, which
binds people who are married as well as de facto couples. You don’t even have to live
together for the Act to apply,” explains Paula Lines from The Law Shop.


A prenup is a document that essentially contracts you out of the PRA and outlines how assets will be split if the relationship ends. Marriage and relationships are financial partnership, too. Without an agreement, all property and assets will generally be divided evenly.


“It’s not about who gets the Tupperware. Getting legal advice around high value assets –  which includes a person’s business, KiwiSaver, and so much more – provides protection to either partner if the relationship ends or if one of them dies,” Paula says.

When asked why people shy away from prenups, Paula mentions that some may find it confronting to bring it up while they are in a loving relationship. She also says that there can be concerns about it being complicated or expensive, but explains that these are misconceptions.

“The cost is usually manageable. It’s well worth it compared to dealing with financial consequences if it hasn’t been done. If you don’t want to talk to your partner about a potential break-up in the future, it may be easier to talk about you both being protected if the other person dies,” she says.


The Property (Relationships) Act is the legislation that helps determine how property is
divided when a relationship ends. The Act is based on the principle that both individuals in a
relationship are equal, that both financial and non-financial contributions to the relationship
should be treated equally, and that the division of property should take into account any
economic advantages or disadvantages that one party may have experienced as a result of
the relationship.

The Act covers:

• married couples
• couples in a civil union
• couples in a de facto relationship for at least three years
• couples in a de facto relationship for less than three years, who have a child
• couples in a de facto relationship for less than three years where one partner has made substantial contributions to the relationship

The Act applies when a relationship which meets the above criteria ends, either because the
couple has separated or because one partner or spouse has died.

At The Law Shop, it all starts with an easy questionnaire. To get the ball rolling or if you have
questions around the process, call 0800 LAW SHOP (0800 529 7467).

Rotorua: 1268 Arawa Street
Tauranga: 1262 Cameron Road, Greerton
Mt Maunganui: 65a Girven Road (by appointment)
Phone: 07 349 2924 or 0800 LAW SHOP (0800 529 7467)