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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22553
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Thanks advise on my last question I have a few other

Customer Question

HI Chris, thanks for your advise on my last question I have a few other questions I would like to ask in relation to my marriage split up...how do the law know when you have separated? If you both agree on a date... a date that may of been when you think
the relationship ended is that illegal to do? Or does it have to be the date you moved out the family home? Also.. if I was to be in a new relationship with someone, I would not still be considered married if I was separated I am battling to understand the
difference between being separated but not divorced and having to wait 2 years - am I legally separated even though we have submitted no forms to the court? Its confusing. Also as we got married in South Africa - can we get our marriage annulled in South Africa
or do we have to do it in the residence of the country we live in? 2 years seems so long and we are both in such a horrible place with each other. I also need to know if I need to submit anything to the court? Can I change my name now too? or do I need to
be divorced to do this? Thanks Chris..sorry for all the questions
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

You can agree on the date, or it can be as simple as you noting this in a diary or an email to someone. It's seldom an issue under New Zealand law. It can be the date the relationship came to an end, and even just when one of you started living in a separate room in the same house. That is not illegal and I have seen this a few times. It's not really important in the bigger picture. Once you leave you are legally separated, but the status is not really important under New Zealand family law. You can get the marriage dissolved here after two years, and this is usually done on the papers without a court hearing. But you could apply in South Africa, but it makes no real difference.

You can change your name at any time. It may surprise you to learn that taking your husbands name is ***** ***** and not law in New Zealand and you can revert to your maiden name whenever you want.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi thereI have been legally separated for a while now, awaiting the 2 years for it to be dissolved. My question is, can you get engaged and have a long engagement until the marriage is dissolved.. so its more a ring of promise than anything legally? Please let me knowThanksLisa
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Engagement is not a process recognised by law. It is just a promise as between a couple that they will get married, and isnt affected by being separated or divorced. So you could separate and the same day get engaged to someone new-or wait until you are ready. You are separated as soon both of you decide to end the marriage, and sometimes this does mean you are still in the same house, as it takes time to find a new home. That does happen and is not illegal. the time of separation is when you make the decision and end the relationship. Its not very formal under New Zealand law because divorce is no fault.

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

You can get the marriage dissolved in New Zealand and this doesnt need a court appearance as it is done on the papers after the two years are up. You just need to make the application. You can change your name any time you want. Taking your husbands name is ***** ***** and not required by law, so you can use whatever name you want.

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