Useful Family Legislation

Legislation that is commonly applied in the District Court’s family jurisdiction includes:

  • Adoption Act 1955
    An Act to consolidate and regulate the law relating to the adoption of children in New Zealand.
  • Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Act 1995
    The purpose of this Act is to require the recording and verification of information relating to births, deaths, marriages, civil unions, name changes, adoptions, and sexual assignments and reassignments and regulate access to the recorded information pertaining to these matters.
  • Care of Children Act 2004
    The purpose of this Act is to promote the welfare and best interests of children. It defines and regulates the duties and responsibilities of parents to their children and the court's power in relation to the care of children. It encourages agreement on care arrangements and provides for the resolution of disputes. It also implements the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction into New Zealand law, allowing for the enforcement of orders internationally.  
  • Child Support Act 1991
    This Act affirms the right of children to be maintained by their parents and the obligation of parents to maintain their children and the rights of caregivers to receive financial support. It outlines the way in which child support payments are calculated.
  • Civil Union Act 2004
    This Act defines and regulates the law around civil unions.     
  • Domestic Actions Act 1975
    This Act abolishes certain causes of action in relation to marriage, such as the right to claim damages for adultery or breach of a promise to marry. It also clarifies property disputes arising out of an agreement to marry.
  • Family Court Act 1980
    The purpose of this Act is to establish a Family Court as a division of the District Court and provide for the constitution, jurisdiction, powers, and procedures of the Family Court.
  • Family Court Rules 2002
    The purpose of these rules is to promote the fair, inexpensive, simple, and speedy resolution of proceedings in the Family Court, in harmony with the purpose and spirit of the family law Acts under which the proceedings arise.
  • Family Proceedings Act 1980
    This Act revises the law relating to matrimonial and domestic proceedings. It defines and regulates the law around the status of marriages and civil unions, separation, and welfare of children and maintenance upon separation.
  • Family Protection Act 1955
    An Act to consolidate and amend certain enactments of the Parliament of New Zealand relating to claims for maintenance and support out of the estates of deceased persons.
  • Family Violence Act 2018
    The purpose of this Act is to stop and prevent family violence recognising that family violence, in all its forms, is unacceptable and stopping and preventing perpetrators from inflicting family violence and keeping victims, including children, safe from family violence.
  • Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949
    This Act provides for the enforcement of testamentary promises made in exchange for services rendered.
  • Marriage Act 1955
    This Act consolidates the law relating to marriage, outlining the preliminary formalities, solemnisation, and registration.
  • Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992
    This Act defines the circumstances in which and the conditions under which persons may be subjected to compulsory psychiatric assessment and treatment, to define the rights of such persons and to provide better protection for those rights, and generally to reform and consolidate the law relating to the assessment and treatment of persons suffering from mental disorder.
  • Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
    This Act promotes the wellbeing of children, young persons and their families by establishing, promoting and co-ordinating services, assisting families and whānau, and protecting them from harm. It also gives practical committment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (te Tiriti o Waitangi) by recognising mana tamaiti (tamariki), whakapapa, and the practice of whanaungatanga and maintaining and strengthening the relationship between children and young persons and their family, whānau, hapū, iwi, and family group and siblings.
  • Property (Relationships) Act 1976
    This Act reforms the law relating to the property of married couples and civil union couples and couples living together in a de facto relationship and recognises the equal contribution of both spouses or partners, and provides for a just division of the relationship property between the spouses or partners when their relationship ends by separation or death, and in certain other circumstances, while taking account of the interests of any children of the marriage or children of the civil union or children of the de facto relationship.
  • Substance Addiction (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 2017
    This Act makes provision for those suffering a serious substance addiction to receive compulsory treatment where their capacity to make decisions for treatment is severely impaired.
  • Wills Act 2007
    This Act outlines the law relating to wills.