2018 New Year resolutions for your relationships

Publication Date 
15 December 2017

No one resolves that the end of your relationship will be tidy and simple. That is probably because you do not resolve at New Year that your relationships will end. However, sometimes it is best to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Here are five relationship resolutions people can make in 2018.*

  1. Resolve to work out if you are already in a relationship (!) What you might think are just occasional snuggles may be more than that. There are a set of legal principles to define what counts as a de facto relationship  – find out if you are covered and if that means you will be sharing half your property if you separate.
  2. Resolve to work out what property is yours and what property you share. Do not give yourself a nasty shock when you learn property that you thought you shared with your partner, is in trust for a beneficiary you have not met.
  3. Resolve to sort out your finances. Do you actually know what money and assets you and your partner have? Missing money can extend beyond coins down the back of the couch.
  4. Resolve what you would want your partner to have if you split up. Or if you died. Have you talked to a lawyer and written a will? Have you thought about contracting out of the law?
  5. Resolve what would be a fair and simple way to share relationship property if your daughter or son were in a relationship that ended badly. What would relationship property law look like if you got to write it yourself?

This summer people can resolve to make life better for all people whose relationships might end. The Law Commission is consulting on how the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 is working in contemporary New Zealand.

Law Commissioner Helen McQueen is leading this project for the Commission. She is keen to talk about what she and the Commission are doing and why.

The Commission wants to propose changes to the law that make it simple and fair. Helen McQueen and her team would love to hear from people with your views and ideas until submissions close on 7 February 2018. 


* The points above raise issues relevant to our review of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. They are not legal advice. The Law Commission advises the government on issues of Law Reform. We cannot provide individual legal advice or respond to individual legal queries.

PRA family