Respond to a declaration

If you don’t respond to the application, the judge can make an order without hearing what you think. You usually have 7 days to respond. The Family Court will tell you if you have less time.

If you decide to respond and contest the application (called defending the application), you’ll need to fill in the forms, file them with the court and then serve them on the other people involved in the court case, including the lawyer for the child. You usually have 7 days to respond. The Family Court will tell you if you have less time.

It’s free to defend the application.

Get help to respond to the application

If you need help to fill in the forms, you can call us or visit your local court

You can also talk to a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be able to get:

How to respond to the application

  1. Fill in the form:
    Notice of defence – G12 [PDF, 58 KB]
    Fill in this form If you're responding to an application for a care & protection declaration
    or
    Notice of intention to appear – G13 [PDF, 24 KB]
    Fill in this form to tell the court you want to respond to the interim Custody Order, if there is one.
  2. You can also fill in a general affidavit if you want to give more detail. You’ll need to swear that what you say is true in front of a justice of the peace, a solicitor of the High Court or a court registrar.
    General affidavit [PDF, 38 KB]
    Find out more about affidavits and statutory declarations
  3. Include a New Zealand address on the forms if you want to be sent other documents relating to the case.
  4. File your application. It’s free to do this.
    Find out more about how to file documents
  5. Serve your documents on the other parties including the lawyer for the child.
    Find out more about serving documents

Contact with The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki

It's important that you stay in touch with the social worker at The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki. When you're served with the application documents, an information sheet at the back will have the contact details for the social worker for your child’s case.

If your child has been put into the care of The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, the social worker will talk with you about contact with your child while the case is going through the Family Court.

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