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Family Law

Our lawyers are experienced legal aid providers. Click here to find out more about legal aid. 

Strowan Law can help with:

Adoption is when the biological parents transfer their legal rights and responsibilities to adoptive parents. We can discuss whether adoption is the best option for you, the process involved and assist with filing an application in the Family Court.

Care and contact arrangements for children
After separation it is important to have appropriate care and contact arrangements (previously known as “custody” and “access”) in place for a child or the children. We are able to assist in formalising a care arrangement, either by a parenting agreement or by a parenting order.

We believe it is in the parents’ and child/ren’s best interests to resolve parenting disputes by agreement rather than having a Judge determine the matter in Court. Sometimes, however, reaching an agreement is not possible and Court proceedings are necessary. We have experienced family lawyers able to help you with resolving disputes both in and out of the Family Court. 

CYFS matters
We can assist in situations where CYFS (also known as the Ministry of Social Development) have become involved with the family. We can discuss your options where CYFS have or are about to take custody of the children and determine what steps you can take in the proceedings.

If you are a CYFS caregiver it may be necessary for you to obtain parenting and guardianship orders under the Care of Children Act 2004. We can help you with filing the necessary applications and guide you through the Family Court process.

Dissolution of marriage
We can help you with filing an application for a dissolution of marriage (previously known as a divorce).

You can make an application for a dissolution once you have been separated for two or more years. We provide you with legal advice and discuss your rights and obligations in respect of the care of children and division of relationship property.

Domestic violence
Domestic violence includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

If you are a victim of domestic violence we can assist you with applying for a protection order, tenancy/occupation orders and furniture orders. Domestic violence in any form is unacceptable.

If you are served with a protection order application it is important that you receive legal advice that outlines the options available to you. We can guide you through your options and assist with filing a defence.

Guardianship disputes
Guardianship is the right to a say in important matters affecting your child. Guardianship decisions include (but are not limited to):

Guardians have a duty to consult with each other and make joint decisions. If there is a dispute between guardians it may be necessary for you to obtain legal advice. We are able to assist you in attempting to negotiate an agreement between the guardians. If this is not possible we are also able to provide advice and assistance in making an application in the Family Court.

Orders preventing removal of child from New Zealand
If you have immediate concerns that your child is about to be taken from New Zealand you may have grounds to apply to the Family Court for an urgent order preventing the child’s removal from New Zealand. We can inform you of your rights and assist with applying for an urgent Court order if necessary.

We can assist with making and defending applications to determine the paternity of a child. We can further assist with making an application declaring a man is not the father of a particular child. We can guide you through the Court process and help with arranging DNA tests.

Applications under the Protection of Personal Property Rights Act
It may be necessary for you to make decisions on someone else’s behalf if they become incapacitated due to age or disability (for example). We can advise you of your options and assist with making an application under the Protection of Personal Property Rights Act.

Relocation is a guardianship decision, and accordingly both parents must agree on the child relocating to another part of New Zealand or to another country. If there is no agreement, then an application will need to be filed in Court.

We are able to advise you about relocation and assist with filing or defending an application for relocation.

Relationship property
If you have separated it is important to determine property matters. We can discuss your rights and obligations in respect of relationship property and debts, and assist with drafting a settlement agreement. If it is not possible to settle the matter by agreement we can help you apply or defend an application in the Family Court.

If you are currently in a relationship it is possible to make an agreement to determine how your property will be dealt with in the event you separate. These agreements are commonly called “prenuptial agreements” or “contracting out agreements”. We can discuss how to protect your assets and assist you with drawing up an agreement.