Divorce lawyer calls for overhaul of 40-year-old property rule

Morning Talk 26/10/2018
Photo: Unsplash.

The Government is being urged to overhaul its decades-old property rules that apply to divorces.

Dating back to 1976, the existing rule states that if you live together for three years, you have to share your property 50/50 in a break-up.

“It’s quite unfair, isn’t it?” says divorce lawyer Jeremy Sutton.

While prenuptial agreements could be the easy solution, Mr Sutton emphasises that such a contract can be difficult for some couples to agree to.

Otago University research found that the majority of Kiwis don't think a 50/50 split is necessary fair.

Most people surveyed now think there should be an exception, saying when someone brings property in to a relationship - like a family home or a deposit - it shouldn't be shared equally.

Mr Sutton believes the law is outdated when halving the house.

"It’s really about modernising the situation now, recognising what changes there’ve been to society in the past 40 years," he told RadioLIVE.

The New Zealand Law Commission has been reviewing the current legislation for several months, and next week their proposals for change of what happens to property when a relationship ends will be made public.

Listen to the full interview with Jeremy Sutton above.

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