Wilkinson v Wilkinson [2021] NZFC 8995

Published 10 May 2022

Relationship property proceedings — de facto relationship — exception to equal sharing — sale order — religious faith — Property (Relationships) Act 1976, ss 5, 9, 10, 13, 15, 18B, 18C & 20E — S v W [2006] 2 NZLR 669 — Martin v Martin [2016] NZCA 225; [2015] NZHC 1823, (2015) 30 FRNZ 568 — Kidd v Russell [2018] NZFC 3989 — Kidd v Russell [2018] NZHC 3032 — De Malmanche v De Malmanche [2002] NZLR 838, [2002] NZFLR 579 — Bowden v Bowden [2017] NZFLR 56 — Castle v Castle [1977] 2 NZLR 97 — Dalton v Dalton [1979] 1 NZLR 113 — J v J [2003] NZFLR 1088. The parties were before the Court to deal with division of relationship property. The parties had been married nine years before separating, and there were no children of the marriage. The parties disagreed as to whether they had been in a qualifying de facto relationship prior to marriage and about how their relationship property ought to be divided. The respondent sought occupational rent, compensation for personal debts and dissipation of relationship property. The Judge considered the parties' relationship prior to marriage: due to their religious faith, they had not been living together and were not financially intertwined. Their friends and family considered them to be "dating" during this seven year period. The Judge concluded the parties had not been in a qualifying relationship prior to their wedding. Taking their respective financial situations into consideration and the contributions made during the marriage, the Judge concluded that a 70/30 split of the relationship property in favour of the applicant was appropriate. The Judge made a post-separation contribution order in favour of the applicant, but dismissed the respondent's applications for occupational rent, compensation for personal debts and dissipation of relationship property. The Judge also made a sale order for the property and an occupation order in favour of the applicant. Judgment Date: 9 September 2021.