Two women and a man who lived together as a ‘throuple’ sparked a bitter legal battle for the home they shared after they broke up with each other.
Lilach and Brett Paul, from New Zealand, married in 1993 before meeting blonde vet Fiona Mead six years later.
After falling in love, the threesome moved into a farm in Kumeu, north-west Auckland in 2002 to start a new life.
At the time the sprawling four hectare property had been bought in Fiona’s name for $533,000 ($498,000 AUD).
As a sign of their devotion Fiona, Brett and Lilach exchanged rings in a special ceremony and slept in the same bed most nights.
Lilach (pictured, left) and Brett Paul (right) moved into a farm with Fiona Mead after starting a ‘throuple’ but they are now in a bitter legal battle
Over the next decade or so Fiona and Lilach enjoyed making jewellery together while Brett and Lilach ran a paintballing and lawnmowing business together.
Each of the three also formed other ‘secondary relationships’ with other parties during their time together but agreed that their ‘throuple’ was paramount.
However after 15 years living together in harmony Lilach decided to leave the alternative relationship in 2017.
Brett and Fiona tried to maintain their own relationship but they eventually broke up a year after Lilach left the farm.
The property they had called home for more than decade was now worth around $2.1 million ($2 million AUD).
Lilach applied to New Zealand’s family court in 2019 to determine her share in the home under the Property Relationships Act.
Fiona Mead (pictured) was in a three-way relationship with married couple Lilach and Brett Paul, with them all living together on a farm
Fiona (pictured) worked as a vet during their time together and the Pauls between them ran paintball and lawnmowing businesses
Fiona Mead (pictured) met the married couple in 1999 and moved in with them on a farm in 2002
Fiona had objected to the application and said their three-way relationship did not constitute a de facto relationship.
In a first-of-its-kind judgement published on Friday the country’s High Court ruled the act could not be applied to multi-partner polyamorous relationships.
The court said that only two-person relationships were covered by the Property Relationships Act.
It would mean that if they were to use any of the current legislation to divide the assets one person would get 50 per cent while the other two would get 25 per cent each.
‘For all of the above reasons, not only does the Act on its face not apply to a polyamorous relationship such as the parties’, but it would be unworkable to stretch the legislation to ‘fit’ this case,’ Justice Anne Hinton said in her ruling.
In an affidavit tendered to the court Lilach said Fiona, Brett and herself were free to ‘love others’ but had an understanding that ‘the relationship between the three of use was the main relationship’.
The court also heard how the throuple had a ceremony after Lilach and Brett moved in and that they wore rings, although she admitted to losing hers a few years ago.
A polyamorous relationship is one with more than one partner involved but with the consent of all three parties.
Source: Daily Mail New Zealand