Parent-child relationships

Key statutes

  • Age of Majority Act 1970
  • Care of Children Act 2004
  • Adoption Act 1955
  • Adoption (Intercountry) Act 1997
  • Adult Adoption Information Act 1985
  • Family Dispute Resolution Act 2013
  • Status of Children Act 1969

Key secondary legislation

  • Family Court Rules 2002
  • Family Court Amendment Rules (No 2) 2020 *Not in force yet*
  • Family Courts Fees Regulations 2009
  • Family Courts (Prescribed Proportion of Professionals' Costs) Regulations 2014
  • Family Dispute Resolution Regulations 2013
  • Care of Children (Counselling) Regulations 2013
  • Care of Children (Appointment of Additional Guardian by Parents) (Forms) Rules 2005
  • Care of Children (International Child Abduction) (Forms) Rules 2005
  • Care of Children (Parenting Information Programme) Regulations 2014
  • Status of Children (Fees) Regulations 1995
  • Adoption (Intercountry) Regulations 1998
  • Adoption Regulations 1959
  • Adult Adoption Information (Fees) Regulations 1991

Forward work

In July 2020, the Minister of Justice referred a review of surrogacy law to the Law Commission. The transfer of legal parentage following the birth of a child through surrogacy is currently achieved through the Adoption Act 1955.

The review will focus on surrogacy arrangements and legal parenthood, and will examine both domestic and international surrogacy in the New Zealand context. 

Further informatoin on the review can be found on the Law Commission(external link) website.

in February 2021, the Minister of Justice agreed to begin reform of New Zealand's three main adoption statutes - the Adoption Act 1955, the Adult Adoption Information Act 1985 and the Adoption (Intercountry) Act 1997. Reform will begin with public and targeted engagement.

Further information about the reform can be found on our Ministry of Justice website's Key Initiatives - Adoption law reform page.