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Family Courts

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The Family Court is a specialist division of the District Court  .  .  .  .  . 

 

Check out some basic facts on the Family Court.

  • There are 58 Family Courts throughout New Zealand
  • There are 43 warranted Family Court Judges
  • The Family Court deals with applications under the following Acts:
    • Adoption Act 1955
    • Adoption (Intercountry) Act 1997
    • Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966
    • Care of Children Act 2004
    • Children Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989
    • Child Support Act 1991
    • Domestic Violence Act 1995
    • Family Proceedings Act 1980
    • Family Protection Act 1955
    • Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003
    • Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949
    • Marriage Act 1955
    • Mental Health (Compulsory) Assessment and Treatment Act 1992
    • Property (Relationships) Act 1976
    • Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 

There are over 110 District Court Judges in New Zealand. Approximately one third of them hold Family Court warrants (permits)  to sit in the Family Court. 

 

Most of them sit almost full time in the Family Court dealing with all disputes between partners involving marriage break ups, separations, guardianship, custody and access, (now called parenting or contact orders) matrimonial and relationship property, paternity, maintenance and other family disputes.

The first part of this topic has been displayed free of charge. Join up for $45 to have access to this and all other topics!


Feedback/Reviews/Blogs
Feedback / Reviews / Blogs on this topic
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Hi Netlaw,

I was really helped by this topic, particular the instant link to at least 25 recent reported decisions of the Family Court. It really helps those who don't know how to look up this stuff. Thanks . . . Kathryn - Balclutha April 2006"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"dear Netlaw,

My partner and I found all your family sites really good. We are fighting a maintenance and custody dispute with his ex and we cannot get legal aid so we are trying to go it alone and your site really helps. The judge actually commented on our documents saying that they were good. Thanks again . . . . Tuia"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"This topic delivered what it promised. Documents and ideas and some tips. I was happy. Miriam (Not rael name, but name supplied) Hamilton."
"I see that the documents posted on the Family Court of New Zealand now differ to the ones posted on your site, example form A4 consent to adoption -http://www.justice.govt.nz/courts/family-court/documents/forms/pdf/A4.pdf/view?searchterm=form%20a4
It asks for different information on the front page, e..g deponent and with or without notice, what does all this mean, and how do I complete this part of the form?
Do you have a sample of one of these forms completed?
Regards
Steve"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Can a woman aged 54 with a 16 year old child who is neither attending school or any other form of education/training continue to claim the DPB and child support indefinitely or should the child be on a separate independant benefit? and what if the child does not claim a benefit, does this justify the mothers ongoing DPB claim? - Jenny

Netlaw replies - Yes . . . . You go on to what is called a "Woman Alone" Benefit designed to allow the single parent to continue to be supported when the kids become independent. You need to discuss your circumstances with WINZ. The child may be entitled to an Independent Youth benefit, but they are not automatic. Special circumstances need to apply. Play around on the WINZ Website. Just type winz website into Google or your internet explorer.

Here is a quote from the WINZ Website. -

"To get a Domestic Purposes Benefit you'll need to be a sole parent, or a caregiver of someone sick or infirm, or a woman alone of 50 years of age or older. You must:

be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
have lived in New Zealand continuously for two years or more at any one time since becoming a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (except refugees with permanent residence)
normally live in New Zealand".

Cheers . . . Netlaw



"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Well worth reading. I don't think I will have any more kids!! Louise J Auckland March 2007"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Thank you. It was not as easy as I thought because they wanted so many identifying details but your whole Netlaw site helped me. Barbara H - Oamaru - March 2007"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Up to date. Great. the IRD Child Support site is so hard to follow. You need a computer degree. You tell it like it is. (One pissed off father)

"

"Bloody fantastic coverage. Easy to understand and work out. Mike R - Auckland Central"
"Please advise - My partner pays his ex-wife child support every week. (The amount was agreed via a settlement agreement nutted out between lawyers at mediation.) Is this child support still payable on weeks when we have the children? (in school holidays we have the children for half of the time). It seems unfair for his ex-wife to be getting paid child support when we are supporting the children.
Netlaw replies - The access you enjoy in the holidays must be averaged out over the whole year. It does not apply on a weekly basis. That sounds unfair but that is the way it has been interpreted. "

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Well worth reading. I don't think I will have any more kids!! Louise J Auckland March 2007"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"I did my dissolution from all your documents and tips. JGH - Auckland - June 2007"
"Hi, great site! I need a bit more help. I need to serve dissolution papers on my ex-husband. However, he cannot be found. I can apply to the court to have them served on his mum instead using the form interlocutory application without notice AND filling in a general Affidavit form. I can't find any help for this on this pages. Also, do I put that my application for one party is made with or without notice? (first page).

Netlaw replies -You have obviously accessed our Dissolution site. Also access our Family Court Rules topic. Our basic documents are correct but you can double check them by going to the Dissolution topic and clicking on to the Direct Link to the Family Court Website. When that topic opens up, scroll down to FORMS, then on to LIST OF FORMS then on to FORMS UNDER FAMILY PROCEEDINGS ACT then down to Forms 11 and 12. Don't forget you have to add an Information Sheet and we have a topic Information Sheet. So that gets you started. 3 documents there.

Right, then go to our topic Family Court Rules and click on to those Rules through the Direct Link provided. When the Rules come up (a little longer if you are only on dial up) then choose Rule 126 which tells you all about substituted service. You need a simple Application (Without Notice) following the same format as your main Application and you need an Affidavit in Support of Application for Substituted Service. 2 documents. You do not need a second Information sheet.

Take your time. But put in the reasons why you need substituted service. Say where he might be, when you last had contact with him, where his extended family live etc. Cheers . . . . Netlaw

"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"I did my own documents and got before a Judge and got my own order for protection. I reckon I did it faster then my lawyer last time I need such an order two years ago.
Thank you . . . . Sandie (not my real name)"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
". . . . bloody helpful for me to get through the thicket of Rules and procedures . . . Frankie - Tauranga - February 2007"
"I just want to agree . . . JCH - Auckland"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Thanks . . . for us grandparents it was helpful to have a topic dedicated to us although we had to go to some of your other sites to get the full picture and documents. we have aplied for counselling firt.
All the best to the team at Netlaw"

"This website is TOPS!! tnx!! Q:I have a Returning resident visa issued 070307 and would like to take my 2.5 year old child to Europe for a month to simply visit my parents which I havent seen for 2 years! My childs mum(Kiwi) and her oldest daughter went last year all paid for and my parents never had a thank you!!!! and although I notified her months ago about our trip she is emotionally blackmailing me and threatening me with a laywer out of jalousy(?)or the poor thing is scared I might not come back while I have been living and working here for the last 5 years. All our arrangements are made orally. NZ and our boy is my life! Our child is staying with me every other day. I pay weekly 100$ I am a good dad, she is a good mum but I'd like to know her rights and mine as a parent within my current visa situation as well. And although my right to vote in NZ indirectly supports those who are chosen to make these laws I feel as a father quite left on my own since I consider NZ family law extremely father unfriendly..HELP please anyone! Me in Queenstown

Netlaw replies - You need to see the Familky Court at Queenstown at once and ask for counselling to try and sort this out. That costs nothing and should not take long. BUT - you should also ask a lawyer to file an application for an order because that will take a few weeks to get to Court at the very earliest and you will need to ask the Court to take urgency and it is better to file at once as a back up to counselling failing. "

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Great coverage. Keep updating the whole website, Netlaw. Barbara K - Hamilton"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Great coverage. Keep updating the whole website, Netlaw. Barbara K - Hamilton"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Up to date. Great. the IRD Child Support site is so hard to follow. You need a computer degree. You tell it like it is. (One pissed off father)"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Hi, what is the success of wives asking for spousal support today? is it a common application or is it becoming too rare because there is DPB available and also because the system is changing and not favoring this type of maintenance anymore?? I just like to have a rough idea if I should pursue this. I've recently been made redundant, am getting no child maintenance and my ex says that I wont be able to get anything anyway as his business is off shore...Any help will be great thanks.

Netlaw replies: It is not common because the DPB is well above what most partners could afford, and still maintain themselves. But in financially well off families spousal maintenance is a runner, particularly until a matrimonial property division provides the partner in need with a large lump sum. Then, the need for extra maintenance dissipates. Apply for a benefit immediately and then apply also to the Family Court for an order for spousal maintenance. If the orders you receive amount to LESS than the DPB then that money goes towards the benefit, not on top. But if your order is MORE than the benefit then you just go off the benefit and take the sum awarded."

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Dear Netlaw
Our father was in a semi-coma when he got married and died 3-days later. Can this form of marriage be invalidated, (in particular, annulled through not being consummated)? Your expertise will be gratefully received again, thanks.

Netlaw replies: Non consummation is no longer a ground for dissolution but, under section 31 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980, a Family Court can declared void a marriage if there was an absence of true consent at the time of the marriage. If he was in a semi coma, it would be difficult to prove full consent. That could therefore void the marriage."

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Great to see all the relevant Acts laid out with direct reference to your own topics - Christie - Thames"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"I did my own documents and got before a Judge and got my own order for protection. I reckon I did it faster then my lawyer last time I need such an order two years ago.
Thank you . . . . Sandie (not my real name)
"

"Good helpful information and tips on all of your family law topics topics. Keep it coming Netlaw. Judi - Invercargill"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"I was accused wrongly. It is an awful process to go through. But I found the Notice of Defence document on your site and I could not find it anywhere else. I tried and tried. So good on Netlaw. The Court ordered blood tests and I had to pay half but then those blood tests excluded me and now I am asking the court to make her pay me back. I will let you know what happens This topic on paternity helped me greatly. Jon A -South Auckland"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"While you have considerable detailed information for the applicant there is no information directed at a respondent and how to respond.
Netlaw responds: Sorry. We will add to the topic today. The Respondent must, within 20 working days, file in the Court and serve on the Applicant, his or her own Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities as well as a Narrative Affidavit."

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Really helpful "one stop shop". This topic attracted me to your website but when I opened up all the topics - WOW - I am going to join up a second time. I have used it for Wills, Neighbour Disputes, Trusts and Speeding Infringements and have read most of the topics. Think I will go to Law School! Great. Kayla - South Dunedin"
"Helpful and interesting. Se Ya again, Netlaw - Jon - Auckland Central"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"Very helpful . . . McBreen"
"Now that I understand the principles it has made it easier for me to prepare and make final decisions. thank you. Kirsten."
"Great coverage to have it all laid out. Could you try and give us some uncomplicated documents. yours are useful but are there any simpler docs? Keep up the good work. A really helpful website. Graeme H. Wellington - May 2007"
"I have made good use of this topic and the other topics on Wills. Well done. Jim H (retired) - Devonport - May 2007"
"Bloody Hell! You provide us with the documentation as well! This is great stuff. I will still use a lawyer but I now have enough information to make some informed decisions myself.
Kevin M - Hamilton"

"Hi Netlaw...i have found your site very helpful to me in applying for a parent order. Anexcellent site with the right information, easy to use steps.

Thanks so much :)))"

"HI, posted yesterday trying to find application boilerplate for challenging will due to unsound mind (with medical evidence). Thanks"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access - All About Supervised Access
"My husband and I liked all this information. Keep it up please! Well worth the $45. We have spent so much on lawyers, blast them. I suppose they are necessary but when we see these concepts set out simply by you in Netlaw we wonder what all the secrecy and fuss was about in other matters. "
"I have heard that through the Will I am able to gift up to $27 500.00 of my property per year to some one that I want to inherit without paying gifting fees where do I find a template for this

Netlaw answers: Good morning,

You posted a blog on Netlaw this morning. We reply as follows.

Gift duty is not payable on money or assets which pass under your will. Therefore, you can leave $1,000,000 to someone in your will and it is not classified as a gift.
However, if you wanted to give someone $1 million during your lifetime then that would attract gift duty at 40 cents in the dollar (subject to a more specific calculation about a lesser amount of gift duty in some bands above $27,000) for any amount gifted over $27,000 per year. This is why gift programmes over a number of years have to be set up during the course of your lifetime to avoid or minimise paying gift duty.
But we repeat - money or assets left under a will are not treated as gifts for gift duty purposes. Nor are death duties payable any more. They were abolished well over 10 years ago.

Cheers . . . . Netlaw"

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