Guidance for managing shared custody during COVID-19 restrictions

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.

See the Care of children process overview map [PDF, 1.8 MB]

If you are experiencing family violence, find out about help available here:

Family violence section

In the Care of Children section:

Parenting through a break up

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.

Resolving parenting disagreements

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.

Parenting & guardianship

The Family Court can help with guardianship matters. This includes who can be a guardian and sorting out disputes between guardians.

Keeping children safe

The Family Court is involved with Care or Protection Orders. You can also find services outside of court to help keep your children safe.

Financial support for children

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.

Prove paternity

The Family Court can decide paternity (who a child’s father is).

Stop a child leaving New Zealand

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.

Get a child returned to New Zealand

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.

Adoption & the Family Court

The Family Court is involved in the adoption of children from within New Zealand.

Process overview - Sort out your children's care arrangements

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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