LAWS310-22S2 (C) Semester Two 2022

Relationship Property and Family Finance

This occurrence is not offered in 2022

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 18 July 2022
End Date: Sunday, 13 November 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 31 July 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 2 October 2022


The course aims to provide a sound academic grounding in the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, Child Support Act 1991, and the adult maintenance provisions of the Family Proceedings Act 1980.

This course provides a general introduction to family finances in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is a core part of general legal practice, as well as being a speciality practice area. Even if you do not wish to become a relationship property lawyer or a family lawyer, all lawyers are expected to have a working understanding of basic family law issues and the financial implications of different relationships. Such knowledge may also be helpful in your current or future lives.

The purpose of this course is to develop your understanding of the key legislation and case law necessary to resolve complex multi-issue family finance disputes and critically examine issues of principle and policy raised by Aotearoa New Zealand’s current legal framework. To this end, Relationship Property and Family Finance provides an overview of the financial aspects of the family justice system and focuses on three key topics: child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of relationship property (which includes an examination of Māori understandings of relationship property and taonga). This course examines the current legal framework, alongside proposals for reform suggested by the Law Commission in 2019.

Learning Outcomes

  • The aims of this course are to enable students to:
  • Understand, explain, and apply the relevant legislative frameworks and common law principles pertaining to child support, relationship property, and adult maintenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Critically examine issues of principle and policy raised by Aotearoa New Zealand’s current relationship property law framework and its operation in practice.
  • Locate, evaluate, and critically engage with the primary and secondary sources relating to family finances in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Identify and articulate issues arising in a multi-issue family finance problem.
  • Apply legal reasoning to generate suitable responses to issues arising in a multi-issue family finance problem and, if appropriate, make a reasoned choice amongst alternative responses and/or exercise professional judgment.
  • Further their knowledge of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) and, in particular, issues arising in relation to Māori conceptions of relationship property and taonga.
  • Place Aotearoa New Zealand’s family finance regime within the international family law context.

    The course also aims to develop students’ general legal writing skills, including legal analysis and critical reasoning. In particular, it aims to develop students’ capacity to:
  • Read and interpret legislation.
  • Read and analyse cases.
  • Solve problems using reasoned analysis.
  • Argue clearly and persuasively.
  • Critically evaluate existing legal principles.
  • Carry out independent research.
  • Produce written work in accordance with the New Zealand Law Style Guide.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.




Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Ruth Ballantyne


The assessment will be confirmed in the first week of lectures.

Textbooks / Resources

There is no set texts for this course. You will be expected to read relevant sections of statutes and specified cases, journal articles, and book chapters.  These will be provided for you on LEARN.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $845.00

International fee $4,313.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Faculty of Law .

All LAWS310 Occurrences

  • LAWS310-22S2 (C) Semester Two 2022 - Not Offered