Often one of the most pressing issues after a separation is resolving care arrangements for your children. Many parents are now opting for shared care arrangements which requires careful thought to make sure these arrangements will be suitable for you and your children. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience in resolving care arrangements and will be able to provide you with advice so you can make informed decisions. Many parents opt to enter a Parenting Agreement to formalise care arrangements. If necessary, you can also obtain a Court order determining care arrangements.
We highly recommend all parents who are separating attend the (free) Parenting through separation course. Attending this course is also a required step before you can make a Court application for childcare matters.
For parents who aren’t able to agree care arrangements informally, attending Family Dispute Mediation is the next step. Our lawyers can advise you on your rights prior to mediation or can attend mediation with you. Attending FDR mediation is also a required step before making an application to the Court. Exceptions do apply – such as where there has been family violence, or one parent refuses to attend. Talk to us if you think this applies to you.
Guardianship and relocation
Important decisions for your children need to be made by their guardians, who are usually their parents. These decisions include where your child lives, goes to school, their religious upbringing and medical treatment. It is important that all guardians are involved in these decisions. If you and your child’s other guardian are struggling to make these decisions together, or you feel these decisions are being made without you, we can help.
Relocating with a child can be a complicated issue. If you want to move town, or to another country, it pays to get legal advice first to avoid difficulties.
We understand that Oranga Tamariki becoming involved in a child’s life can make for a daunting and difficult time. If you have been served orders by Oranga Tamariki, or a child has been placed in the custody of Oranga Tamariki and you would like access, or if you wish to take part in caring for any children involved, we can help.
If you are a caregiver wishing to apply for permanent orders for children in your care, we can also assist with this process.
IVF and Surrogacy
This a complex area and it is essential to get up-to-date, relevant legal advice early on in the process. The law regarding surrogacy options, including IVF and other forms of assisted reproduction, are constantly changing. Assisted reproduction can raise issues not only for the prospective parents but also for egg or sperm donors. We can advise you on the legal implications for all involved and explain your rights and obligations regarding the child.
If you adopt a child, all the legal rights and responsibilities of the birth parent will be transferred to you. Adoption within New Zealand requires an application to the Court and a sworn statement from you. Inter-country adoption can be more complicated. In this case, getting early advice is important.
Likewise, if you are a birth parent and would like to have someone adopt your child, we can advise you on the process, and on your rights. Nowadays, most adoptions are “open”, which means you can continue to play a role in your birth child’s life.
No matter what your situation, we have the knowledge and expertise to guide you on this journey. Our lawyers will assist you from start to finish to make the process as easy as possible for you.
If you need to prove (or disprove) the paternity of your child we can help to organise DNA testing or represent you in the Family Court if necessary.
International relocation (Hague Convention)
If you are concerned that your child may be taken out of New Zealand without your consent, you need to act quickly. We can assist you to apply for an order preventing removal and have a Border Alert put in place.
If your child has already been removed from New Zealand, or kept overseas without your consent, we can advise you on your rights under the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention is an international agreement that aims to ensure children are returned as quickly as possible to the country where they usually live. If your child has been removed, you need to act immediately as any delay can be held against you.