Relationship property disputes
FairWay’s specialist relationship property mediators are here to assist former couples to divide their property in a supportive and cost-effective way.
Mediation is a collaborative way to reach an agreement on your relationship property. Mediation has many benefits including saving you the time, stress and expense of the Court process.
The role of the mediator is to facilitate difficult conversations and support you to reach agreement on how your relationship property is to be divided.
This involves individual meetings with each of you and joint meetings. During the joint meetings, your mediator will support you both to work through any issues and develop your own solutions to reach the best possible outcome that meets the interests of everyone.
The mediator cannot give you legal advice and will not make decisions for you.
Once an agreement is reached, the mediator will prepare a written agreement which both parties sign.
For the Relationship Property Agreement to be enforceable by law, both parties must receive independent legal advice and have the agreement certified by a lawyer.
What is “relationship property”?
Relationship property covers things of financial value that you gained during the relationship. It can include:
- the family home and contents (but not taonga or heirlooms), other land or buildings and vehicles
- salary or wages earned during the relationship, insurance payouts, superannuation you received, rents and other income from joint property
- any property gained when you were in the relationship or had the relationship in mind and intended for both of you to use
- non-personal debts (your personal debts are your own responsibility)
- gifts or inheritances that have become mixed with relationship property
- property you both agree is relationship property
- increases in the value of relationship property, income from it or the proceeds from the sale of it.
For more information, please see the Ministry of Justice website.
At FairWay, our mediators are fully accredited through the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ), the Resolution Institute or the New Zealand Law Society.
Our relationship property specialists are legally trained and experienced with the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, so you can trust that we have the expertise to help your resolve any relationship property issues.
We recommend that you seek your own independent legal advice.
If you would like your Relationship Property Agreement to be binding by law, both parties must receive independent legal advice and have the agreement certified by a lawyer.
Preparation For Mediation
Your mediator might recommend undertaking Preparation For Mediation.
Preparation For Mediation is a mixture of support work and coaching to help people get the most from mediation. This usually involves helping people to understand their own behaviours, and developing strategies to assist them in the mediation.
You can find out more about Preparation For Mediation here.
Each mediation is different, so costs do vary depending on the differing needs.
When you get in touch with FairWay, we will outline our costs and provide you with an estimate for our services.
In most cases, the total cost per person is between $2,000 and $3,500 excluding GST.
If you qualify for legal aid, then you may be eligible for an additional grant to cover your mediation costs. You can contact FairWay or contact Legal Aid Providers Aotearoa (LAPA) directly to find out more.
Mediation is an efficient process that allows for flexibility around timing.
Once both parties have agreed to attend mediation to resolve their relationship property, the mediation usually takes place within the next few weeks.
Your mediator will work with both of you to determine a time line which suits both your needs.
Find out more
You can register for mediation online using our Relationship Property Form.
If you would like to find out more about mediation and relationship property, get in touch with us on 0800 77 44 20 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
 If a settlement is reached a mediated agreement will be prepared by the mediator. No settlement is binding unless and until the requirements of section 21F of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 are satisfied. In particular section 21F requires that:
- each party has obtained independent legal advice in respect of the mediated agreement (this advice must be obtained before the mediated agreement is signed);
- the agreement is in writing and signed by both parties;
- the signature of each party to the agreement is witnessed by a lawyer; and
- the lawyer who witnesses the signature of a party certifies that before that party signed the agreement, the lawyer explained to that party the effect and implications of the agreement.