The government is doing new things for housing – so are we!

The government is doing new things for housing – so are we!

Yesterday morning the Government announced a nearly $4 billion package that includes increased support for first-home buyers and aims to make buying your first home that little bit easier. Coincidentally, Agreeable is trying to do the same thing! In the coming months, we will be launching a Deed of Debt and a Deed of Gift that will help you make your home-buying experience simpler.

We talk to a lot of first home buyers who want to document how their new home will be split between them and their partner. We also hear from nervous parents who say “I’m lending my child money for a house deposit. How do I protect myself and make sure things don’t go topsy turvy if my child and their partner split up?”.

So far, the answer to this has included 1) ensure the lucky new home buyers get a relationship property agreement, and 2) think about documenting the loan! Until now, we’ve mainly helped with the first bit, but with our new Deeds of Debt and/or Gift, we’ll be helping you document a loan or a gift as well (and we can ensure that the agreement links up with the Deed – no loopholes!).

The Government is hoping that its new package will result in more houses being affordable. The key changes include increasing the bright line test to 10 years, staggered removal of interest deductions and lifting the First Home Grant caps.

But what if you’re still looking to get your deposit (or part of it) from somewhere else? We know that coming up with a house deposit can still be tricky. That’s why we commonly see people getting gifts or loans from family to help them make that big purchase. In the coming months, we will be launching our Deeds of Debt and Gift, to help make the loan/gift process more straightforward.

Getting a loan from the bank of mum and dad? Document it using our Deed of Debt! Receiving a gift from a kind friend who wants you to “settle down”? Document it with a Deed of Gift! Soon you will be able to access Agreeable’s user friendly document automation tools to create your own Deed, to suit your own circumstances. As always, our friendly team will be on hand to help, and our expert lawyers will be on standby in case you need legal advice. Watch this space!

Please note: Agreeable does not provide legal advice, but we provide online access to lawyers who do. If you require legal advice, please get in touch with us.

Separation Agreements and the family home

Separation Agreements and the family home

It goes without saying that separating from your partner is often a difficult experience. There is a lot to figure out, particularly when you have been together for a long time. Central to what needs to be figured out is what you are going to do with the family home – in most cases, a couple’s largest asset.

We have found that the most common way to deal with the family home is for one person to buy the other’s persons share of the home – in other words, for one of you to “buy the other out”. Under NZ’s relationship property laws (found in the Property (Relationships) Act), the family home is usually split 50/50. However, often one person has put more money into the deposit (and didn’t think to get a prenup) or one person has contributed more to the mortgage.

In those situations, the couple might then verbally agree how much one will pay the other for the house. To them, the verbal agreement is simple, easy and they know where they stand. Unfortunately, for them either the bank (or, perhaps, the bank of mum and dad) want the agreement in writing. This is where a separation agreement comes in.

Suddenly, what seemed to be an amicable and simple split can become a rabbit hole of confusion.

Where do we get one? How much will it cost? What is involved? Do I have to see a lawyer? What if they want us to change our agreement?

 

This is where Agreeable comes in.

Agreeable takes the niggle out of getting a separation agreement. We offer a template for parties to make their own written agreement at a fraction of the cost of getting a bespoke agreement from a lawyer. Two independent lawyers can also then be provided to certify the agreement (which makes it legally binding) at a fixed price. Best of all, the entire process can be completed online.

Our goal is to give the written separation agreement a simple and easy feel – just like when the parties verbally agreed. We work with parties to help them understand what is required, how much it will cost and what is involved.

If you have recently separated from your partner (or are about to buy a house with your partner), send us an email and we will help you figure out what your situation requires. Separating is hard enough, it doesn’t need to become a scary legal battle too. We’re here to help make everything a little bit more… agreeable.

Please note: Agreeable does not provide legal advice, but we provide online access to lawyers who do. If you require legal advice, please get in touch with us.

CODR is now Agreeable!

CODR is now Agreeable!

Dear CODR customers,

We are excited to announce that CODR has transitioned to Agreeable. CODR grew significantly over the past year and the decision to rebrand has brought with it an opportunity to focus our offering. This means we will no longer be providing online dispute resolution services; however, we will continue to offer our expert and industry-leading relationship property services.

Agreeable’s offering will include:

  1. Updated processes for relationship property and separation agreements;
  2. A fresher and slicker website;
  3. Better support for those who purchase an agreement through us;
  4. More options for online signing;
  5. A bigger network of expert certifying lawyers; and
  6. the same great service!

Our new brand brings with it a professional, practical, and personal approach to relationship property. Our aim has been to develop a service that takes the ‘niggle’ out of getting a prenup or separation agreement. We believe we have done that, and we hope you agree.

We are super excited about our future as Agreeable and are continuing to look at ways we can turn the traditional legal model on its head.

If you need help with setting up a prenup or a separation agreement, don’t hesitate to get in touch – info@agreeable.co.nz OR 0800 9 AGREE.

Best wishes,
The Agreeable team

Is your business safe from relationship property claims?

Is your business safe from relationship property claims?

​The short answer is no.

A quick Google will let you know that there are several ways business assets can be exposed to relationship property claims. Claims can be made for a share of your business assets by your spouse or partner after you separate. That means it is important to protect your business. Give yourself – and your business partners – certainty that a change in your relationship status won’t have adverse outcomes for the business.

 

How do you protect your business assets?

Take the safe route, get a prenup! Outline exactly how you want your property to be divided. You can choose to specify how the business assets will be divided, or even simply that the business remains separate property.

 

How can Agreeable help?

Our goal is to make the process of getting a prenup easy. It’s all done online, without the need to even leave your home! We provide a DIY prenup for $350.00 with expert assistance to help you along the way. We also provide two lawyers at a fixed price who can make the agreement legally binding. Find out more about our Relationship Property Agreement or contact us with any questions you may have.

 

Things to remember:

  • Relationship property is not all about the family home or furniture. It is important for you to understand how YOUR business assets can be susceptible to relationship property claims. If in doubt, get legal advice, we have a team of experts who can help!
  • Trusts will not always protect your business from relationship property claims. Again, if in doubt, get legal advice, again, we can help, get in touch with us!
  • It is important to ensure any prenup is fair, as the court can overturn agreements which result in “serious injustice”.
 

Your business assets can be exposed to a relationship property claim. Protect your business, get a prenup!

Create a relationship property agreement online

Dividing your assets in a separation

Dividing your assets in a separation

What happens to the bach, the boat and your superannuation?

It is no secret that when married couples and de facto partners separate, each individual is typically entitled to a 50% share of all relationship property under the Property (Relationships) Act.

What you and your partner may not realise is that your superannuation falls within the definition of relationship property. Given the Law Commission has identified that superannuation, second to the house, can be one of your most significant assets it is important to know how it may be divided if you and your partner separate.1

 

So how and why is your ex entitled your superannuation fund?

It may seem counterintuitive that your ex could benefit from a superannuation fund that you, yourself, cannot touch until you reach the age of 65. The good news is that property acquired before your relationship is usually treated as separate and will not form part of the divisible superannuation amount. However, the current law says that any increase to your superannuation during your relationship will be divided equally – irrespective of who contributed the funds.

In the event that you do have to give your ex a percentage of your superannuation the process is not as simple as transferring the money from your superannuation to theirs. The most common arrangement involves handing over another asset that is equal in value, such as a lump sum of cash, the boat, or a greater share in the house.

If your pool of relationship property is not large enough to hand over a lump sum, a loan may be an appropriate alternative.

That said, where neither of the above is an option, the court can make an order directly to the manager of your scheme to release the superannuation funds.

 

The effects of COVID-19

One of the effects of Covid-19 was the plummet of superannuation fund balances, leaving many funds worth far less than their pre-COVID-19 value. In valuing personal property, the court assesses the amount owed at the date of separation. If you and your partner separated pre-COVID-19, this could have a significant impact on the amount of your super that your ex is entitled to. The expected percentage of your superannuation payable to your partner may reflect an amount of money that no longer exists.

 

How we can help

Separations are stressful enough, and going to court can add a costly and timely burden. COVID-19 is expected to lead to a spike in separations, exacerbated by lockdown, forcing family tensions to bubble to the surface.

If you’ve separated and need to take care of your assets, our Separation Agreement can help. On the other hand, if you’re entering or already in a relationship, a prenup (Relationship Property Agreement (RPA)) can help provide certainty for the future. Asking your partner for an RPA may not be the most romantic gesture in the world but, in all this uncertainty, there has never been a better time to secure your assets.

Ultimately, our law means that you are entitled to make your own decisions about how to divide your assets. Therefore, instead of leaving it to the Act and the courts to split up what is yours, a prenup or separation agreement is an efficient and cost-effective option.

 


Disclaimer: Any information we provide is general information. Please do not rely on the contents of this article as legal advice. Agreeable is not a law firm or a substitute for a lawyer.

1Law Commission Review of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (NZLC R143) at 15.43.

Create a separation agreement online