What to do if you are asked to return a child

If you’re asked to return a child you’ve taken from the country where they usually live, you’ll be given (served with) the court documents and told how much time you have to respond.

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

If you decide to return the child

If you decide to return the child voluntarily, contact the other parent or guardian, their lawyer or the Ministry of Justice (see below).

Postal address:
Central Authority, Hague Convention 
Ministry of Justice
SX10088
Wellington
New Zealand

Write the address as written above and send it the same way as any other mail. You can use an NZ Post mail box. If you use a DX mail box your mail will get to us faster (external link)

Phone: 04 918 8800 (or +64 4 918 8800 if you are outside New Zealand)
Fax: 04 918 8820

Contact person: Patricia Bailey – Patricia.Bailey@justice.govt.nz

If you don’t want to return the child

If you don’t want the child to return to the country where they usually live, you will need to tell the court your reasons for not returning the child.

Find out more about the reasons why a child may not be returned

Process for responding

  1. Tell the court in writing your reasons for not returning the child. There is no prescribed form but you can use these general forms to guide you:
    Notice of defence - G12 [PDF, 58 KB]
    General affidavit [PDF, 38 KB]
  2. File your application.
    Find out more about how to file documents
  3. Serve your documents on the other person. The court will tell you how much time you have to do this.
    Find out more about serving documents

What happens next

The other parent or guardian will have a chance to respond to anything you say in your answer. You will be given a copy of their response.

Then there will be a court hearing. The court will decide whether or not the child should be returned to the country where they usually live.

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