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29 March 2021

What happens to my Kiwisaver after we separate?

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Although we consider our KiwiSaver and other superannuation accounts to be personal to us, your ex-partner is usually entitled to a half share of the money.


Is my KiwiSaver relationship property?

The balance of your KiwiSaver that is “attributable to the relationship” will be relationship property. If you started your KiwiSaver account after you entered into the relationship, then the entire KiwiSaver will be relationship property. However, if you started your KiwiSaver before your relationship started, only the part of the KiwiSaver balanced earned during the relationship counts as relationship property.



Bethany opened a KiwiSaver account in 2009. She met Oliver and began a de facto relationship in 2013. At the time of entering into the relationship her KiwiSaver balance was $5,000 and she had 1,000 units. The units in the KiwiSaver scheme at that time (1,000) are Bethany's separate property and she does not have to divide these with Oliver.  When Bethany and Oliver split up in 2020, her KiwiSaver balance was now $20,000 and she now had 2,500 units.  The additional 1,500 units acquired during the relationship are relationship property.  

In this situation, Oliver is entitled to half of the value of the units acquired during the relationship, i.e. half of 1,500 units or about half of $15,000 because this is the amount that is attributable to the relationship.


Do I have to withdraw money from my KiwiSaver to pay my ex?

Many people are able to come to an agreement where a cash adjustment is made to account for KiwiSaver. However, in situations where the party can’t afford to do that, it is possible to apply to withdraw money from your KiwiSaver to pay your ex. This application needs to be made to the Court.


We can help

We provide specialist advice and litigation expertise on relationship property issues. Please contact us to discuss:

Sarah Tzoumis

Phone: (03) 379 3880


Bailey McIntosh

Phone (03)


Level 2 Young Hunter House
134 Victoria Street
Christchurch 8013

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