Reasons a child may not be returned

In some cases a judge in New Zealand or overseas may decide not to return the child to the country where the child normally lives if:

  • the person wanting the return of the child was not exercising their custody rights when the child was taken or kept overseas (this means they weren’t looking after or spending time with the child)
  • the person wanting the return of the child had agreed to the child being taken to or kept in the other country
  • there is a grave risk that the child would be physically or psychologically harmed if they came back to New Zealand
  • the child does not want to come back, and is old and mature enough for their views to be considered
  • the child is settled in the new country and has been living there for more than 12 months
  • the key requirements of the Hague Convention have not been met
  • returning the child would breach their fundamental freedoms and human rights.

If the child is not to be returned, you might be able to ask for contact with the child under the Hague Convention

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