An application to register your home as a joint family home is dealt with by the District Land Registrar. You should address your application to the local office of the Land Titles Service, which you can contact through the regional offices of Land Information New Zealand. Applications must be completed in the prescribed manner.
There are many risks involved in having a small business that can be lessened by registering your land under the JOINT FAMILY HOMES ACT 1964. The advantage that this gives you is that your home is partially protected against claims by creditors.
The land may be registered in this manner if you and your spouse (or de facto partner) meet the following requirements:
There may be difficulties in satisfying this last requirement if the dwelling is used partly for non-residential purposes.
If any of the conditions for registration cease to be satisfied your settlement may be cancelled.
The effect of the registration is that your land is settled as a joint family home. Therefore an interest of $103,000 from the proceeds of the sale of the home will be protected from any creditors.
As part of your application you may request that the Land Titles Service advertise your application in newspapers, in the Public Notices section. This informs creditors and potential creditors that you are applying.
If you choose not to advertise and are adjudicated bankrupt within two years of making the application, you will not receive the protection of the Act, as the registration will be void as against the Official Assignee. (See also How to undergo bankruptcy.)
If you decide to advertise your application, a creditor may respond by lodging a caveat opposing registration. If this happens, you may:
If you take the matter to the High Court, after considering the facts the judge may either order the caveat to be removed or maintain it. The caveat will be maintained if the creditor shows that he or she has good cause, that the debt is a substantial amount, and that maintaining the caveat will not cause an injustice to you.
If they are no caveats pending and your application satisfies the other requirements, the Registrar will enter a Memorandum on the Certificate of Title specifying who the parties are and the date of settlement.
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