It’s been more than 40 years since New Zealand’s divorce laws were first set out and 18 years since those laws were last amended substantially, so it is unsurprising that many consider the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (PRA) to be unfair and out of date.

The Law Commission conducted a review of the PRA receiving feedback from members of the public and experts working in this area. Based on these findings, a report of 140 recommendations was tabled in parliament in July 2019.

The report didn’t cover the rules applying to relationships that ended when one of the partners passed away (succession law) but recommended that these laws should also be reviewed. The government agreed and requested the Law Commission conduct this review in 2020.

The government have decided not to make any changes to the PRA without considering them in conjunction with changes to succession law, as they believe it would be undesirable to have different rules for relationships ending in death.

This delay is obviously disappointing for everyone that has been involved in the PRA review and it means New Zealanders will have to live with our outdated laws a bit longer.

Read about the main recommendations for changes to the law and my comments in this NZ Herald article.