Australian Parenting Orders

Australian Parenting Orders

Australian Parenting Orders Ex Overseas New Zealand Family Lawyer SYdney

My former partner now lives in New Zealand, can I enforce our Australian Parenting Orders?

With the significant number of Australians who have migrated to Australia from overseas countries or have strong ties to overseas countries, it is becoming more important to understand how Orders obtained in Australia for the care of children can be enforced overseas. In particular, given the easy migration and travel between Australia and New Zealand, many parents need to understand how to navigate implementing Parenting Orders across the ditch.

While the abduction of a child to New Zealand from Australia, or to Australia from New Zealand can be dealt with by a Hague Convention Application through the Central Authority, many parents will never need to deal with their child being abducted overseas but rather one parent refusing to comply with Parenting Orders obtained in Australia once the parent or child is residing overseas. For example, one parent refusing to facilitate a child flying to Australia to spend time with the other parent during the school holidays despite Parenting Orders obtained from the Family Court in Australia requiring that time to occur. The solution is to register the Australian Parenting Orders overseas so that they can be enforced in both countries.

Regulation 24 of the Family Law Regulations 1984 (Cth) provides for Australian Parenting Orders to be sent to and registered in certain countries. The countries that Australian Parenting Orders can be registered in are listed in Schedule 1A of the Regulations and include a number of states in America, various European counties and New Zealand. Most of these countries have their own legislation which set out the process by which Australian Orders can be registered in that country.


In New Zealand, the Care of Children Act 2004 (NZ) provides for overseas parenting orders, including Australian Parenting Orders, to be registered and enforced in New Zealand. Section 81 of that Act states that in order to register an overseas parenting order in New Zealand you must send the following to the Secretary for Justice:

  1. a certified copy of the Parenting Orders;
  2. a certificate signed by an officer of a court in the country the Order was made in stating that the Orders are enforceable in that country (this is usually satisfied by a lawyer sending a letter enclosing the Orders);
  3. written information that shows that the child who is subject of the Orders, a parent of the child, or a person providing day-to-day car for the child or who has contact with the child pursuant to the Orders is in New Zealand.

The Secretary will then send the Parenting Order to the Registrar of the District Court in New Zealand who will register the order with the court.

Only final Parenting Orders, as opposed to interim Parenting Orders, can be registered.

Once the Parenting Orders have been registered, they can be enforced by filing an Application in the Family Court of New Zealand seeking that the Orders be complied with.

Regulation 23 of the Family Law Regulations provide for an almost identical process to register overseas parenting orders in Australia as he process for registering an Australian Panting Orders in New Zealand described above.

While the process for registering overseas orders is relatively simple, it will usually require the involvement of a lawyer to provide the necessary certificate evidencing enforceability and facilitate the process being managed smoothly. In the event you are seeking to register or enforce overseas parenting orders or register or enforce Australian Parenting Orders overseas please contact us to arrange an appointment. 02 9633 1088


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