The Law Commission is to make a comprehensive review of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 over the next three years.
The review has been requested by Justice Minister Amy Adams. The Commission will report to the Minister in November 2018.
The Commission says it will consult with the public, as well as engaging with key stakeholders and an Expert Advisory Group.
Lead Commissioner for the review, Helen McQueen, says over time the Act affects the life of almost every New Zealander.
"In the 40 years since it was first enacted, New Zealand society has changed dramatically," she says.
"It is time to ensure that the framework for dividing relationship property reflects the needs and reasonable expectations of New Zealanders in 2016 and beyond."
Background information provided by the Law Commission says one of the issues to be reviewed concerns property that is held in trust.
"The Law Commission recently examined aspects of New Zealand's trust law and many submitters to that project were concerned that the legislative provisions in the relationship property area are inadequate, and not as effective as legislative provisions addressing trusts in other policy areas," it says.
The Law Commission has identified at least 16 matters which will be recovered by the review.