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Dissolution of Marriage in New Zealand

Divorce according to the Black Law Dictionary is “The legal separation of man and wife, effected for cause by the judgment of a court, and either totally dissolving the marriage relation, or suspending its effect so far as concerns the cohabitation of the parties.”

It must be noted that the above definition is the “traditional definition” of divorce but does not reflect the modern trend about divorce with regards to “same-sex marriage”.

The legal term for divorce in New Zealand is “dissolving a marriage or civil union”. It is only the Family Court that can end a marriage by issuing or making a Dissolution Order.

There are two basic legal requirements before on could lodge an application for dissolution of marriage or civil union:

  1. The party have been living apart for 2 years or more; and

  2. At least one of the party is domiciled in New Zealand.

Domicile means that New Zealand is your permanent home even though you are living overseas or abroad for a time.

There are two types of Application for Dissolution of Marriage or Civil Union in the Family Court:

  1. If both of you agree, then you can lodge a Joint Application for Order Dissolving A Marriage or Civil Union;

  2. If you don’t agree, then one of you could lodge a One Party Application for Order Dissolving A Marriage or Civil Union.

In either application the Court Fee is $211.50.

It is always better to consult a lawyer if you are planning to have a divorce for a proper legal advice and representation.

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