Family Income Sharing Arrangements – FISA – NZ Divorce
Currently under consideration by the Law Commission, (FISA) may become a permanent part of our Divorce Settlement legislation.
Following the leading Herald article in their media feed authored as described;
(Jeremy Sutton is a senior family lawyer, specialising in divorce cases where there are significant assets including family trusts and complex business structures)
We find this;
These are to replace spousal support maintenance and economic disparity claims. Under Section 15 of the PRA, these awards have become increasingly unpredictable and conservative, and the cost of applying for one is high.
Because of this, a s15 application is only worthwhile when there is a significant relationship property pool.
What is proposed is that couples with children, who have been together for 10 years or more, or who have built or sacrificed careers because of the relationship, should be eligible for Family Income Sharing Arrangements or “Fisas”.
Under a Fisa, partners would be required to share their combined incomes for a defined time period after they separate, to ensure both financial advantages and disadvantages from their being together are shared more fairly.
There will be a statutory formula that equalises their incomes (for approximately half the relationship’s duration) up to a maximum of five years.
This change would be welcomed by everyone, as you can imagine – especially not by the higher-earning partner; but it is a simple solution to what is often a sad and complicated situation.
What I see at risk here is the clean break mechanism that allows separating couples to carry on with their individual lives.
Based on the concept that the best interests of the child needs to be considered one can’t help suggesting that the only point of view lawyers are able to consider this from is a financial one. We’ve seen this financial duty used in the Child Support Act previously by imposing an assessed income on a Father based on his potential to produce income rather than his actual income.
What we are also seeing in society is a dramatic decrease in home ownership. The home has been the primary target in middle class Family Court cases – that’s generally been the residual value of the relationship.
Follow the money is always a good start and the ‘in person’ potential looks to be exactly what is being targeted.
Don’t see this ending well for the blokes or in many cases the children as ‘spending power’ as is being targeted here, will be directed into the hands of the mother.