Articles: by Mike Brownlie

Children, Shared Custody and the Covid Vaccine

On 1 December 2021 the Covid-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, announced that Covid-19 vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 years are expected to start before the end of January 2022. The dose to be provided will be lower than that provided to adults. The Pfizer vaccine is already being administered to children of this age in America. This will become increasingly important as the Delta variant has shown that zyoung people, particularly those who are unvaccinated, are more susceptible to contracting it and requiring hospitalisation.


The Future of Adoption Law in New Zealand

The Government is in the midst of a review of current adoption laws signaling potential change on the horizon for adoption in New Zealand.

The review stems from criticisms that the law as it stands, (largely unchanged since the Adoption Act 1955 was enacted 66 years ago), is increasingly unfit for purpose because it fails to accurately reflect modern societal values and adoption practices. The Government’s intent is to modernise the existing legislation to reflect contemporary expectations, values, and adoption practices and ensure consistency with principles of other child-centred legislation.


Protection of Property Rights Act and mental incapability

What happens when a family member becomes mentally incapable through injury or illness and there is no enduring power of attorney in place?

What if my child is born with an intellectual disability and they are unable to care for themselves and sort their own finances when they are an adult?

You may be able to apply to the Family Court for appointment as a welfare guardian and/or property manager.


Section 21 aka 'pre-nup' agreement- do you need one?

A section 21 agreement, also known as a contracting out agreement, relationship property agreement or ‘pre-nup’, is a written agreement that allows couples to make arrangements about the status, ownership and division of property upon separation or death. This agreement ‘contracts out’ of the equal-sharing relationship property rule under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (the Act).

These agreements can cover any and all property owned by either party and the parties are free to decide on the division they see fit.


Breaking up is hard to do

As a general rule the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 states that when relationship property is divided, each party shares equally (i.e. 50/50) in the family home, family chattels, and any other ‘relationship property’.