Guidance for managing shared parenting during COVID-19 alert levels

Updated 31 August 2020 at 5.30pm

Parenting arrangements: New guidance for COVID-19 Alert Level 2

The settings for parenting arrangements in Auckland and for the rest of the country at Alert Level 2 are the same.

Parenting arrangements continue as normal, while still following public health measures.

The number limit of up to 10 people for social gatherings in Auckland does not apply to parenting arrangements.

Follow public health guidance. Children still should not move between households if they or anyone else in either household are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test, or required to self-isolate.

If your children can’t see their other family group in person, ensure they have as much access as possible by other means – such as by phone, Facetime, Skype and other social media applications. We encourage parents to be generous with phone or social media contact.

You can find information and measures to stay safe and well on the COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 website(external link)

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Questions & answers for shared parenting

I’ve got a Family Court hearing coming up for my Protection Order/Parenting Order - what do I need to do?

Information about the Family Court under different COVID-19 Alert Levels can be found at Courts of New Zealand COVID-19 protocols.

Courts of New Zealand COVID-19 protocols(external link)

Please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) if you need other information about courts.

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I need legal advice – how do I get it?

Lawyers are able to provide advice during each COVID-19 Alert Level. They will do this following public health measures.

Legal aid is available. A list of legal aid lawyers is on the Ministry of Justice website:

Find a legal aid lawyer(external link)

You may be eligible for assistance from a Community Law Centre. You should phone them first, as a range of working practices are now in place across the country to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.  You can find their contact details on the Community Law website:

Community Law: Our Law Centres(external link)

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What happens if we can’t agree how to manage the parenting arrangements? Will the Family Court hear the case?

Information about the Family Court under different COVID-19 Alert Levels can be found at the Courts of New Zealand COVID-19 protocols website.

Courts of New Zealand COVID-19 protocols(external link)

Please call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787) if you need other information about courts.

Lawyers are working and may be able to assist you. They will do this following public health measures.

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We were doing Family Dispute Resolution, will that keep happening?

These services will be available but the way it is delivered will change, including doing some of the programme remotely by phone or web-based. Check with your provider for ways they can help during each COVID-19 Alert Level.

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Other Alert Levels

COVID-19 Alert Level 4

When we were at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 in March and April, we provided the advice below. We will update this if any area moves to Alert Level 4.

At COVID-19 Alert Level 4, children may move between two households (bubbles) under a parenting arrangement. The travel must be within the same or adjacent District Health Boards. Long distance travel is not recommended i.e. more than an hour. The child is the only one who can swap between the two bubbles.

If children are moving between two bubbles they should be accompanied by an adult. Guidance on transport arrangements for children can be found at the Ministry of Transport website.

COVID-19 transport and travel guidance by alert level(external link)

The Principal Family Court Judge has issued guidance at COVID-19 Alert Level 4, which you can find at the District Courts website.

Guidance for children in shared care and COVID-19 Alert Level 4(external link)

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