Parents who have shared custody of their children can find information for families and whānau during COVID-19 restrictions on our Ministry website at:
Information for families and whānau
Lawyers will still be able to provide legal advice during this time if parents cannot reach agreement between themselves.
This section provides information on matters relating to the care of children. This includes parenting during a break up, parenting plans and orders, guardianship, child support, and adoption.
If you are experiencing family violence, find out about help available here:
If you and your ex-partner have agreed on care arrangements for your children, you can make a parenting plan without involving the courts. You can also find advice about talking to and making decisions about your children during a break up.
If you want to, you can ask the court to make your parenting plan into a Consent Order. That means the parenting plan can be enforced by the court if one person isn’t sticking to the arrangements.
If you need help to reach agreement about how you’ll care for your children, there are mediation services available that don't involve going to court. The Family Court can make decisions for you if these other attempts to agree are unsuccessful.
The Family Court can help with guardianship matters. This includes who can be a guardian and sorting out disputes between guardians.
The child support scheme is managed by Inland Revenue. There are certain situations where the Family Court can help with child support, such as appealing or enforcing payments.
The Family Court can decide paternity (who a child’s father is).
Get help from the courts if you believe your child could be taken out of New Zealand without your permission. This is called an Order Preventing Removal.
The Ministry of Justice may be able to help get your child returned to New Zealand if they’ve been taken overseas or kept there without your permission.
The Family Court is involved in the adoption of children from within New Zealand.
Print version: Care of children process overview map [PDF, 757 KB]
If you're unable to read the information in the map, follow this link to an accessible text version:
Accessible version: Care of children process overview map - text only
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