Issues with children often arise on a separation. These include where a child lives, where they go to school and who has contact with that child. It is also possible that other family members are concerned about the care of children. Both natural parents are usually guardians of the child, whether or not they were married. They therefore should both be involved in the important decisions in a child’s life, whether or not they have the care of the child.

Guardianship is a dwindling right, depending on the child’s maturity and their ability to make their own decisions, however as a general rule guardianship lasts until the child is 18. The Family Court has the ability to make decisions about the child’s day to day care and contact with its parents until the child is 16. This can last longer if the child has special needs. You may have concerns that one parent is likely to remove a child from New Zealand, or the centre they normally live in, and you may be concerned about the impact on the child and/or your relationship with them. If you cannot reach agreement it is possible to apply for orders preventing the removal of the child until such time as a Court determines what is in their best interest. On a separation parents often agree informally to the arrangements and do not need a lawyer's assistance. The parties may want the security of a parenting agreement, or may wish to have an order through the Court.

Regardless of what you believe may be best for your child we are able to help you. Please contact us to discuss further any issues you may have whether the children are your own, or perhaps extended family.

Initial Contacts

Amanda Fizgibbon

Relationships – Senior Associate

+64 3 335 3478


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Esther McNally

Relationships - Associate

+64 3 339 5641


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111 Cashel Mall
Christchurch 8011

PO Box 799
Christchurch 8140

Telephone: +64 3 379 9940


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