Relationship Property Agreements – shortcuts can be dangerous

July 15, 2014

in Family & Relationship Property

iStock_000017754761SmallWe increasingly find a move towards simplification of legal documentation which has its merits in many situations but also has potential disadvantages.

Often the desire is driven by the client due to a perception that this will save them money and/or because the parties do not wish to deal with broader issues.

The High Court has recently shown where this can be to the disadvantage of parties.  The High Court has held that a Relationship Property Agreement entered into between defacto parties would only be effective in respect to the matters covered by the agreement.  The parties had subsequently acquired property after they entered into the agreement which were not dealt with adequately by the provisions of the agreement.  The Court held that where the agreement does not deal with one or more issues that the legislation provides for then the legislation will still apply.

The Court made it clear if the parties are to contract out of the Act they must do so expressly.  In this case the agreement did not comprehensively deal with all aspects of the relationship property particularly concerning what was to happen when one party used his separate property to increase the value of relationship property or made contributions to the separate property of the other party.

This case is a reminder that “cutting corners” may seem beneficial at the time but can have unintended consequences later when it is not possible to rectify the earlier omissions.

Farry and Co. are experts in all aspects of Relationship Property including contracting out and dealing with separation issues.

If you require any advice or further information on the matters dealt with in this publication please contact the lawyer at Farry and Co. who normally advises you, or alternatively contact:

Paul Farry

09 379 0055 or 03 477 8870


The information contained in this publication is intended as a guide only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances.  While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Farry and Co. does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. 

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