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Family law

Dividing your property when you split up (“Relationship property”)

Applying to the Family Court for a Relationship Property Order

How much does it cost to apply for a Relationship Property Order?

Family Courts Fees Regulations 2009, regs 5B, 7, Schedule 3

There is a $700 fee for filing any relationship property application with the Family Court. If your case goes to a Family Court hearing in front of a judge, you will also have to pay an additional fee $906 fee for each half-day (three hours) or part half-day (up to three hours). If either party chooses to use a lawyer, they will also have to pay their lawyer’s fees.

If you can’t pay the fee, you can apply to have it cancelled in your case (this is called a fee “waiver”). You’ll need to show that you’re dependent on a benefit or completely dependent on New Zealand superannuation or a veteran’s pension, or that you’d suffer undue financial hardship if you had to pay the fee. For more information about fee waivers, go to the Ministry of Justice website, here (or go to justice.govt.nz, search “help to pay court fees” and navigate to “Apply for help to pay the court fees for a civil or family case”).

Time limit for applying under the Act

Property (Relationships) Act 1976, s 24

There is a time limit for applications for orders under the Property (Relationships) Act:

  • For a marriage or civil union, you must apply within one year after it is dissolved. (See: “Divorce: Getting a “Dissolution” Order“).
  • For a de facto relationship, you must apply within three years after the relationship ends.

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Relationships and break-ups

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Family Court

This Family Court provides a range of information relevant to adult relationships, including information on separation, dissolution, relationship property and the relevant court processes.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/family/separation-divorce
Application for a dissolution of marriage (divorce): www.justice.govt.nz/family/separation-divorce/apply-for-a-divorce

Births, Death & Marriages (Department of Internal Affairs)

Births, Death and Marriages have information about marriages and civil unions. You can also apply online for your marriage licence or download the application forms.

Website: www.govt.nz/organisations/births-deaths-and-marriages
Email: bdm@dia.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 22 52 52

New Zealand Law Society

The Law Society has helpful information on what happens when your relationship ends.

Information on separation, divorce, care of children and maintenance: www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-public/common-legal-issues/what-happens-when-your-relationship-breaks-up

Information on dividing up relationship property: www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-public/common-legal-issues/dividing-up-relationship-property

Ministry of Social Development – Work and Income (WINZ)

Relationships often have a significant impact on personal finances. For information on how your changing relationship status might affect what benefits you are entitled to, contact Work and Income.

Website: www.workandincome.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 559 009

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