Note: there is a separation agreement between you and your partner and does not concern the court. As a general rule, all family items (such as jewellery, furniture, etc.) remain separate. If you place a silver inheritance in a joint bank account, you risk turning that property into a relational property and, therefore, in the event of a separation, you must share that property with your partner. A contract is often used to ensure that all estates continue to be retained as separate property in the event of separation. The agreement will also provide good evidence that a separation has taken place for the purpose of an application to dissolve the marriage or the community of life (see How to obtain a dissolution of the marriage or community). I hope most couples have explored all their possibilities before making this last step. In this sense, I would like to add that the Family Court offers free counselling sessions for couples who are considering separating or who have separated. I would benefit from it, because, of course, departure should be the last resort… It`s chaotic, expensive, sad and it`ll cost you years back. If you want to see how bad, look at Figure 5 in this Stats NZ report on the net wealth of New Zealanders and compare it to Figure 4, which represents the net assets of two families of parents. Depressing as hell.
If you can prove that the agreement worked well over a long period of time, a judge could let it be the basis for an approval decision in the divorce proceedings. The best way to protect assets acquired before the start of a relationship is to have an agreement that records how the property should be split in the event of separation. This is called a contract. Trusts are also widely used, but recent court proceedings in New Zealand indicate that the use of trusts may not be as secure as expected. A contract is best concluded at the beginning of the relationship, but can be concluded at any time before the separation of the spouses.