Respond to a Separation Order

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If your ex-partner asks the Family Court for a Separation Order without you, you’ll be given the documents they filed with the court.

You can decide to let the Separation Order go through, or you can ask the court not to grant the Separation Order. This is called defending the application.

Time frames for responding

You have a set time to ask the Family Court to not make the Separation Order.

The set time is usually:

  • 21 days if the documents are served in New Zealand
  • 30 days if they are served in Australia
  • 50 days for anywhere else in the world.

You may want to get legal advice to help you. You may be able to get:

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Option 1: Letting the Separation Order go through

If you don’t respond once you have been served, the judge can make a Separation Order without hearing what you think.

If it’s made, the court will send you copies of the Separation Order.

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Option 2: Asking the court not to make the Separation Order

You can ask the court not to make the Separation Order. There’s no fee.

Note: When you print the forms it's important to print them single sided.

  1. Fill in the form:
    Notice of defence form – G12 [PDF, 58 KB]
  2. If you want to tell the court why the Separation Order shouldn’t be made, you can also fill in an affidavit:
    General affidavit form [PDF, 38 KB]
  3. You can also make sure the court has your address by including your address on the forms. You will only be sent other documents relating to the case if you have given the court a New Zealand address.
  4. File your documents at the court and then serve them on your ex-partner.
    Find out more about how to file and serve documents

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What happens next

If you ask the court not to make the Separation Order, then there will be a defended hearing with a Family Court judge. The judge will hear what both of you think and decide if they should make the Separation Order.

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