Cuffing season has come to an end, and the spring surge in separations and divorces has begun. We’ve seen this in the recent celebrity divorce announcements overtaking the internet such as Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner as well as the most recent announcement of Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness.

There are a few hypotheses around why spring seems to spark more than just cleaning your house. Whether it be the financial year coming to an end, the fresh start/new beginnings aspect of spring, or even the nearing of 2024. There can be increased pressure as we reach closer to the end of the year, where we start to reflect on what we want out of the year to come, what we can improve on and what needs to change in our lives. Now whether there is any proof in the pudding of those it is unclear but let’s dive into the world of relationship property anyway!

While it feels like we see more celebrity divorces than those in our own backyard, statistics in New Zealand show that 7,593 couples were granted a divorce in 2022, with 5,853 of those having children under the age of 17, leaving 1,740 couples who were granted a divorce with either no children, or children over the age of 17.

When it comes to celebrity couples, relationship property can be complicated, and their assets appear to be a never-ending list. Lavish mansions and luxury cars, paired with the territory of being in the spotlight, divorce is no easy feat for anyone, including the rich and famous.  

It is important to note that the laws regarding relationship property vary from country to country, so what you may see in the media may not always apply in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 there is a presumption that when you have been in a qualifying relationship for three years, relationship property is to be divided equally. To protect your assets, you can enter into a section 21 agreement otherwise known as a contracting out agreement. Now this may not be something you have ever heard of however it can also be referred to in other countries as a prenuptial agreement (or ‘pre nup’).  Celebrities often have these in place as it is a way they can protect and safeguard not only family heirlooms and personal assets but even the custody of family pets too!

Now not all couples have contracting out agreements, and that is where relationship property can get complicated. There are three main ways relationship property can be divided, that is by an agreement between yourselves in writing, through the Family Court or by undertaking mediation.

In the end, celebrities, just like us, have to navigate the intricacies of relationship property and due to that intricate nature, it can be important to have an expert assist in that process for you. If this article has raised concerns for you that you may require assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact us.