Is there any legal benefit to being married rather than being in a de facto relationship?

Question Details: I would like to know if there are any legal benefits from formalising my de facto relationship with a marriage licence. Is there any legal benefit to being married rather than being in a de facto relationship?

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Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

Generally in New Zealand there is no legal benefit to being married rather than in a de facto relationship. De facto couples have the same status as a married couple in most legal contexts.

However, if you have not been living together for three years yet, and you don't have any children, relationship property sharing law probably does not apply to you yet as a de facto couple. If you got married or entered a civil union, it would apply, even before you have lived together for three years. For more detail, click on this link, and pay particular attention to the section titled "How is property divided if the relationship was of short duration?": www.communitylaw.org.nz

This question is quite broad, so this is quite a broad answer. There could be other consequences of being married rather than de facto (for example, for other countries' immigration purposes), so if there are any factors that are particularly important to you as a couple, we suggest you check out those factors.

Answered 19 Aug 2012. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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