This project examined New Zealand’s relationship property legislation.
The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (PRA) sets out the rules for how property owned by either or both partners is divided when they separate or when one of them dies. It applies to marriages, civil unions and de facto relationships. The policy of the PRA is the just division of property, and this policy is given effect primarily through the general rule that each partner is entitled to share equally in “relationship property”, subject to limited exceptions.
When first passed, the PRA was seen as a significant and long-awaited step in the development of relationship property law in New Zealand. However, the PRA is now over 40 years old and in that time New Zealand has undergone a period of significant social change.
The Law Commission was asked to review the PRA to determine whether it is still operating appropriately and effectively.