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Legal Matters


Marriages

The legal age of marriage in New Zealand is 16 years. If one or both partners are under the age of 20 and have not been married before, then parental consent to marry is required.

Divorce

Divorce in New Zealand is simple. Couples can separate immediately and a divorce is granted automatically after they have lived apart for two years. Dissolution is granted on the basis of irreconcilable differences. These grounds for divorce cover all reasons for ending a marriage.

All matrimonial property is generally divided equally between the partners if they are divorcing after three years of marriage. This also applies to same-sex and de facto relationships. For shorter marriages, the equal sharing rules may be modified.

A booklet is available from the Family Court. For further information, contact the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Freephone: 0800 22 52 52
http://www.dia.govt.nz/

Making a will

Anyone aged 18 years and over can make a will either through the Public Trust, which provides a simple and low-cost service, or a private lawyer. Freephone: 0800 371 471 or visit: Public Trust.

Alcohol and the law

Wine and beer are available from most supermarkets seven days a week, and wine, beer and spirits at specialist outlets ('bottle stores').

Anyone aged 18 years or over can go into 'licensed premises' and buy and drink alcohol. Licensed premises include hotels, pubs, restaurants, clubs, bottle stores, supermarkets, cafes, bars and nightclubs. If you are asked to prove you are aged 18 or over, you can use either:

  • a New Zealand photo driver licence
  • a New Zealand or overseas passport, or
  • an 'evidence of age' document from the Hotel Association of New Zealand (available at any New Zealand Post Shop for $20)

    People who are under 18 can be given alcohol by their parent or legal guardian, either at home or at a private social gathering. It is illegal for people under 18 to drink in a public place.

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