New Law Will Place Severe Strain On Relationships
ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks predicts that after the debates scheduled this week on the Government’s new Property Relationships law, many people in de facto relationships will be told by their lawyers to split from their partners so they can protect their assets.
“I am getting confirmation that the worst effects of the Property Relationships Bill could be on the poorer partners in existing relationships. Your lawyer may have to tell you, if you are the richer partner, that if you want to save your house and future independence, perhaps only a break-up before the new Act starts will do it.
“Contracting out is very uncertain. According to family lawyers “if you don’t sign this you will have to go” will constitute duress. An agreement signed under duress will not work.
“But a more nasty alternative will probably work. Try a temporary end to your relationship - without giving the poorer partner any choice. You have to cease living as a couple - so you’ll need to kick the companion out. Then wait a reasonable time, and if you still want to start it again, offer a new relationship on condition the contract is signed.
“Lawyers will be forced to advise the partner with more assets to act very cold-bloodedly. They may have to coach their clients to duck discussion or even ignore anguished requests for explanation from the poorer partner. Because none of it will work if the poorer partner finds out the real reason for the bust up.
“Worse may be the fate of women dumped or kicked out by a partner just before the birth of a baby. Men will learn that a baby born while in a relationship becomes a ‘child of the relationship’ – whether or not they are the father. Property sharing will apply from the birthdate of the child – even if the relationship has lasted for much less than the three years normally needed to bring the law down on them.
“People will develop countless strategies in attempts to safeguard two things they value, their own carefully saved property and the relationship with the partner.
“250,000 New Zealanders will face theses stresses as this new law “marries them” for property purposes, without their consent.
“If thousands of relationships break-up, or do not even get started, because of fear of covert property ambitions, that will be the direct harvest of misery from the Government’s social engineering,” Mr Franks said.