COMMENT:

Q. My partner and I are about to separate. We have been together only five years. I owned the house we live in prior to our relationship and I have paid for all our living costs, including our holidays from my income and an inheritance I received six months ago. We haven't accumulated much property together other than a new car which I purchased with my inheritance and some savings from my income.

We are both in our 50's and my partner decided to retire shortly after we moved in together as my income easily paid for our lifestyle. My partner also owns a house which she has rented out during our time together. She has kept the income from that property.

I have heard my house will be divided equally between us. That doesn't seem fair! Is there anything I can do?

A. While the usual rule is that all relationship property is divided equally, there are some exceptions.

What is relationship property?

Your relationship property will include your bank accounts, furniture, any superannuation or Kiwisaver entitlements accumulated during the relationship and in your case, the car purchased with your inheritance and the home you owned prior to the relationship.

Normally your inheritance would be your separate property, but it loses this status if it becomes intermingled with relationship property – that is, if it is paid into a joint account and expended over time on family expenses, or is used

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How will your property be divided?

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