What if it is urgent?
If the removal of the child is imminent there are a number of options available:
- It is possible to get an immediate CAPPS listing through Interpol. This means that the child’s details are entered on to the Customs Service computer system. Therefore, the child can be stopped at the airport from leaving New Zealand. You must then file an application preventing removal.
- An urgent application can be made to the court to prevent the removal of the child. The court can issue a warrant preventing the removal of the child and directing the placement of the child with a suitable person until the matter is dealt with. The court can order the seizure of any travel tickets and passports.
- Make a request to the court that the parenting order includes a condition that the child will not be removed from New Zealand. This condition is binding on both parents.
Can I get my child back if my child has already been removed from New Zealand?
New Zealand is a party to the Hague Convention, which is an international treaty that ensures that a child who has been abducted or wrongfully kept in a country is returned as quickly as possible to the child’s resident country. The government can help you apply to get your child back under the convention. However, the convention only applies to countries that have signed and accepted it.
What are the requirements to apply for the return of your child?
To apply for the return of your child you must satisfy the following conditions:
- The child must be under 16 years of age;
- The child has been removed from New Zealand to a country that is party to the Hague Convention;
- The removal of the child breached your custody rights;
- Those custody rights were actually being exercised when the child was removed, or would have been if the child had not been removed; and
- The child was habitually resident in New Zealand immediately before the removal.
Who can help me apply?
The Hague Convention Advisor at the Ministry of Justice can help make an application for the return of the child. Once the Advisor is satisfied that the requirements apply they will appoint you a lawyer or you can appoint your own.
What if the other country is not a signatory to the Hague Convention?
You may still be able to apply for the child to be returned to New Zealand but it will be a difficult process. You will need to talk to a lawyer who specialises in this area.
Is it an offence to remove a child out of New Zealand without leave of the court?
Yes, it is an offence to remove or attempt to remove a child out of New Zealand, without leave of the court, in the following circumstances:
- You know that proceedings are pending or are about to be commenced under the Care of Children Act 2004;
- You know that another person has the day-to-day care or contact with the child;
- You remove the child with the intention to prevent an order relating to the day-to-day care or contact of the child.
These offences can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and/or imprisonment of up to three months.
“The information posted on this website is prepared for a general audience, without investigation into the facts of any particular case. This information is no substitute for legal advice and does not create a lawyer-client relationship; you are advised to consult with a lawyer on any legal issue.”