Reprint as at 31 March 2014

Care of Children Act 2004

Public Act2004 No 90
Date of assent21 November 2004
Commencementsee section 2


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


1 Title

2 Commencement

Part 1
Preliminary provisions

3 Purpose of this Act

4 Child's welfare and best interests to be paramount

5 Principles relating to child's welfare and best interests

5A Domestic violence to be taken into account

6 Child’s views

7 Appointment of lawyer to represent child in proceedings

7A Lawyers acting for parties

7B Duties of lawyer when giving advice

8 Interpretation

9 De facto partner defined [Repealed]

10 De facto relationship defined [Repealed]

11 Application

12 Act binds the Crown

13 Act a code

14 Administration of children’s property

Part 2
Guardianship and care of children

Subpart 1Guardianship: responsibility for children, and decisions about children


15 Guardianship defined

16 Exercise of guardianship

Guardianship based on parental status

17 Child’s father and mother usually joint guardians

18 Father identified on birth certificate is guardian

19 Father who was not mother’s spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner may apply to be appointed as guardian

20 Declaration that father is guardian because of section 17

Appointment of eligible spouse or partner of a parent as additional guardian

21 Who may appoint additional guardian under section 23

22 Restrictions on making appointments under section 23

23 Appointment of eligible spouse or partner of parent as additional guardian

24 Declarations required by section 23(5)(a)

25 Appointments under section 23 take effect on approval

Testamentary guardians and court-appointed guardians

26 Testamentary guardians

27 Court-appointed guardians

Termination of guardianship

28 Time at which guardianship ends

29 Court may remove guardians

Guardianship of court

30 Concurrent jurisdiction under section 31

31 Application to court

32 Notice to be given to chief executive in certain cases before Family Court

33 Orders of court

34 Powers of court

35 Further provisions relating to powers of court

Consent to medical procedures

36 Consent to procedures generally

37 Immunity of health practitioners administering certain blood transfusions without consent

38 Consent to abortion

Subpart 2Care of children: making arrangements and resolving disputes

Making arrangements

39 Purpose of sections 40 to 43

40 Agreements between parents and guardians

41 Agreements between parents and donors

42 Definitions for section 41

43 Agreements may be entered into by minors

Resolving disputes


44 Disputes between guardians [Repealed]

45 Family Proceedings Act 1980 dispute resolution provisions apply to certain proceedings [Repealed]

46 Certain children may seek review of parent’s or guardian’s decision or refusal to give consent [Repealed]

Consent to certain decisions

46A Consent for de facto relationship

46B Consent where child has no guardian

46C Certain children may seek review of parent's or guardian's decision or refusal to give consent

Family dispute resolution

46D Meaning of family dispute resolution

46E Family dispute resolution mandatory before commencement of proceedings

46F Family dispute resolution after proceedings commenced


46G Counselling after proceedings commenced

46H Approval of counselling organisation

46I Suspension or cancellation of approval of counselling organisation

46J Duties of approved counselling organisation

46K Appointment of counsellors

46L Privilege

46M Number of sessions of counselling

46N Counselling fees and expenses

Parenting information programmes

46O Judge may direct party to undertake parenting information programme

Settlement conferences

46P Purpose of settlement conferences

46Q Settlement conferences

Guardianship disputes

46R Disputes between guardians

Parenting orders

47 Who may apply for parenting order

47A Mandatory statement in applications

47B Mandatory statement and evidence in applications

48 Parenting orders

49 Interim parenting orders

49A Interim parenting order where parent does not have day-to-day care for, or contact with, child

49B Interim parenting order may become final order on specified date

49C Final parenting orders

50 Parenting orders in respect of children of or over 16 years

51 Court must consider protective conditions in certain cases

52 Court must consider contact arrangements in certain cases

53 Orders in proceedings under Family Proceedings Act 1980

54 Orders in proceedings under Domestic Violence Act 1995 [Repealed]

55 Content and explanation of parenting orders

56 Variation or discharge of parenting and other orders

57 Variation of final parenting order by consent memorandum instead of application

Supervised contact

58 Interpretation

59 Court may order supervised contact

60 Costs of formal supervised contact

61 Matters relevant to question in section 60(4) [Repealed]

61A Court may make orders to ensure safety of child in other cases [Repealed]

62 Costs of formal supervised contact [Repealed]

Making parenting orders work

63 Purpose and overview of sections 64 to 80 [Repealed]

64 Guiding consideration and principles

65 Request for counselling [Repealed]

66 Procedure for request under section 65(1) or (2) [Repealed]

67 Registrar may decline requests for counselling and recommend instead applications under section 68 [Repealed]

68 Court may make certain orders or respond in other ways to contravention of parenting orders

69 Court may require parties to attend for hearing of application under section 68

70 Ordering party to enter into bond

71 Costs of contravention

72 Warrant to enforce role of providing day-to-day care for child

73 Warrant to enforce order for contact with child

74 Further provisions about warrants

75 Execution of warrants

76 Authority to use faxed copy of warrant

77 Preventing removal of child from New Zealand

77A Orders under section 77(3)(c) in respect of children of or over 16 years

77B Orders under section 77(3)(c) may be suspended for specified period


78 Contravening parenting or guardianship order

79 Resisting execution of warrant

80 Taking child from New Zealand

Subpart 3Enforcing orders internationally

Enforcing overseas parenting orders in New Zealand

81 Registration of overseas parenting orders

82 Effect of registration

83 Exercise of jurisdiction in respect of child subject to registered overseas parenting order

84 Variation or discharge of registered overseas parenting order

85 Registered overseas parenting orders not to be enforced in certain circumstances

86 Evidence of orders made in overseas countries

87 Costs of returning child: order for payment when warrant issued under section 72

88 Evidence

89 Proof of documents

90 Depositions to be evidence

91 Prescribed overseas countries

Enforcing New Zealand orders overseas

92 Enforcement of New Zealand orders overseas

93 Restrictions on right to make request under section 92

Subpart 4International child abduction

Preliminary provisions

94 Purpose of this subpart

95 Interpretation

96 Application of this subpart

97 Rights of custody defined

98 Contracting States

99 Certificates as to Contracting States

100 Central Authority for New Zealand

101 Courts having jurisdiction to entertain applications under Convention

Application for return of child

102 Child abducted from New Zealand

103 Child abducted to New Zealand

104 Authority may request further information

105 Application to court for return of child abducted to New Zealand

106 Grounds for refusal of order for return of child

107 Applications to be dealt with speedily

108 Interim powers

109 No order or decision about role of providing day-to-day care for child to be made until application determined

110 Contact with, and role of providing day-to-day care for, child, if application dismissed

111 Request for declaration that child wrongfully removed

Application for access to child

112 Child outside New Zealand

113 Child in New Zealand

Miscellaneous provisions

114 Translation to accompany application

115 Evidentiary provisions

116 Lawyer to act for applicant

117 Preventing concealment of whereabouts of child

118 Preventing removal of child to defeat application

119 Enforcing order for return of child

120 Security for costs, etc

121 Costs of returning child: order for payment or refund when order under section 105(2) applied for or made

122 Order under section 121 may be lodged in High Court

122A Discharge of order under section 105 for return of child

123 Unfounded applications

124 Other provisions not affected

Part 3
Jurisdictional, procedural, miscellaneous, and saving and transitional provisions

Jurisdictional provisions

125 Jurisdiction of courts

126 Personal jurisdiction

127 Removal of High Court orders to Family Court

Procedural provisions

128 Evidence [Repealed]

129 Court’s power to call witnesses

130 Appointment of lawyer to assist court

131 Fees and expenses of lawyer appointed under section 7 or 130

131A Advice from chief executive or social worker

132 Reports from chief executive or social worker

133 Reports from other persons

134 Distribution, etc, of reports under sections 132 and 133

135 Costs of reports requested under section 133

135A Order requiring reimbursement of costs payments

135B Enforcement of orders made under section 135A

136 Court may hear person on child’s cultural background

137 Attendance at hearings generally

138 Attendance at hearings of persons involved in counselling or conciliation under Family Proceedings Act 1980 [Repealed]

139 Publication of reports of proceedings

139A Leave required in certain cases to commence substantially similar proceedings

140 Power to dismiss proceedings

141 Power to restrict commencement of proceedings if vexatious proceedings previously instituted

142 Costs

143 Appeals to High Court

144 Effect of High Court’s order or decision

145 Appeal to Court of Appeal

Miscellaneous provisions

146 Rules of court

147 Regulations

148 Other Acts not affected

Amendments to Family Proceedings Act 1980 (extending counselling and conciliation provisions to same-sex de facto partners)

149 Amendments in Schedule 2

Amendments to Family Proceedings Act 1980 (parentage tests in civil proceedings)

150 Amendments in Schedule 3

Other amendments and repeal

151 Other amendments in Schedule 4

152 Repeals

Saving and transitional provisions on enactment of this Act

153 Orders under 1968 Act appointing person as guardian

154 Declarations under section 6A of 1968 Act as to guardianship of fathers

155 Appointments of testamentary guardians under section 7(2) of 1968 Act

156 Orders under 1968 Act about guardianship of court

157 Orders under 1968 Act about custody

158 Orders under 1968 Act about access

159 Other references to custody and access under 1968 Act

160 Existing proceedings under 1968 Act

161 Appointments under section 30 of 1968 Act

162 Applications under 1991 Amendment Act

163 Appointments under section 23 of 1991 Amendment Act

164 Orders saved by section 31(2) of 1991 Amendment Act

Transitional provision applying on enactment of Care of Children Amendment Act (No 2) 2013

165 Proceedings commenced before commencement of this section but not completed

Schedule 1
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Schedule 2
Amendments to Family Proceedings Act 1980 (extending counselling and conciliation provisions to same-sex de facto partners)

Schedule 3
Amendments to Family Proceedings Act 1980 (parentage tests in civil proceedings)

Schedule 4
Other amendments

Reprint notes