Access (see Contact)
An Act contains laws that govern our country. Laws are made by Parliament. Any reference to an Act includes all the rules and regulations made under that Act.
A person (including the head of an organisation, e.g. the Chief Executive of CYFs) appointed by the court as a guardian of a child in addition to any other guardians.
Address for service
This is a nominated street address where documents relating to a court proceeding can be delivered and served (service) on someone who is involved in the proceeding.
Postponing a court hearing until a later day or time.
The administration of a deceased person's estate involves the management of money and property of a person who has died. This includes getting in the debts owed to the deceased, paying any debts of the deceased and distributing the estate to those persons entitled to it by law. See also Administrator.
A person appointed by the High Court to administer the estate of a person who has died without making a valid will. See Executor.
Administrative review (under the Child Support Act 1991)
An assessment by a review officer contracted by the Child Support Agency as to whether a formula assessment should be changed.
A written statement sworn or affirmed before someone who has the legal authority to administer oaths and affirmations, such as a registrar of a Court, a lawyer or a Justice of the Peace (JP).
A promise that something is right or true made by someone without any religious beliefs. An affirmation has the same status as an oath.
Ancillary furniture order (under the Domestic Violence Act 1995)
An order granting the applicant of an occupation or tenancy order in respect of a house, possession of all or any of the furniture, household appliances and household effects in that house.
This is when a party formally requests a higher court to reconsider the decision of a lower court.
A person who makes an appeal.
A person who makes an application to the court.
A formal request to a court for an order (court order), direction or decision under a particular Act.
Associated respondent (under the Domestic Violence Act 1995)
A person who has a protection order made against them because the respondent (to the protection order) has encouraged them to engage in domestic violence against the applicant.
A person who receives money or property from a trust or under a will.
Care and protection coordinator
A person employed by the Department of Child Youth and Family Service (CYF) to organise care and protection family group conferences for children and young people.
Care and protection proceedings (under the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989)
An application by the Department of Child Youth and Family Services (CYF) for a declaration that a child or young person is in need of care or protection as defined in the Act.
Court Registry Officer
A person in the Family Court who is responsible for managing individual cases.
A copy of a document signed and certified as true by someone who has the legal authority to do so, such as a registrar of a Court, a lawyer or a Justice of the Peace (JP).
Under the Care of Children Act 2004 - a person under the age of 18 years.
Under the Children Young Persons and their Families Act - a boy or girl under the age of 14 years.
Under the Domestic Violence Act - a person under the age of 17 years but not if the person is or has been married.
The payment of money required to be paid under the Child Support Act to support a child.
This is when a hearing is closed to the general public and only certain people are allowed to attend. Most hearings in the Family Court are held in closed court.
Community treatment order [under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992]
An order that entitles the patient to be treated and live in the community. The order must specify the place where the patient is required to attend for treatment.
Compulsory treatment order [under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992]
An order requiring a person to be treated for a mental disorder. There are two types of compulsory treatment orders, community treatment orders and inpatient orders.
A process aimed at ending or reducing conflict between parties in dispute.
A restriction included in a Court order or judgment.
A Court order that is made with the agreement of all parties.
This is when a child spends time with a parent or other person who does not have day-to-day care of the child. Contact used to be called "access". In certain cases, contact may need to be supervised contact.
Contest (a will)
To dispute or challenge the provisions of a will in the High Court.
An agreement between two or more parties that is intended to be enforceable by the law. Contracts are usually written, but an oral (spoken) agreement can also be a contract. Some contracts (including contracts for the sale and purchase of land) must be in writing before the Court will enforce them.
A lawyer who represents one of the parties in court. The Family Court may also appoint a lawyer for the child (previously called "counsel for the child") and counsel to assist the court.
A lawyer who is a qualified mediator can be appointed by the Court to help parties resolve disputes and reach an agreement to avoid the need for a defended hearing.
Counsel to assist the Court
A lawyer appointed to assist the court. They do not represent the parties or any children involved in the proceedings.
A free and confidential service offered by the Family Court. The service is provided for people who are having difficulties in their relationship.
This can have several meanings. It may mean the Judge or registrar who makes a decision in relation to an application. It may also mean the place where applications and other documents must be filed for court proceedings and where court hearings take place (i.e. the courthouse).
Court approved counsellor
A person approved by the Family Court to provide counselling.
Court of Appeal (CA)
The second highest court in New Zealand.
A document issued by the court to enforce the court's decision. Failing to comply with a court order may have serious consequences for the person who disregards it.
Where two or more parties (party) in the same proceedings make applications - for example, a mother and a father both applying for a parenting order for day-to-day care of the same child.
The questioning of a witness who has given evidence for a party. This is usually done to challenge the accuracy of that evidence.
This means having a child live with you on a daily basis, and being responsible for everyday things, like making sure they are safe, that they get to school, and that they're warm and properly fed. Day-to-day care used to be called "custody".
Declaration (under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989)
A Court order declaring that a child is in need of care or protection.
De facto relationship
When two people live together as a couple but are not married.
To respond to, or oppose an application.
A court hearing of an application that is opposed by another party. Parties to the proceedings present their evidence and argue their case. The Judge then makes a decision.
Departure order (under the Child Support Act 1991)
A Court order that changes the amount of child support to be paid.
A person who makes an affidavit.
A formal instruction made by the court.
Director of Area Mental Health Services [under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992]
A person appointed by the Director of Mental Health to be responsible for a certain area in New Zealand.
Giving the other party information or documents that are relevant to the court proceedings.
The formal court order that ends a marriage or civil union. This is often referred to as divorce.
The lowest level of court that can deal with criminal and civil cases.
The formal court order that ends a marriage or civil union. (Dissolution Order)
Domestic Violence (under the Domestic Violence Act)
This means physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological abuse (e.g. intimidation, harassment, damage to property and threats) against a person by any other person who is or has been in a domestic relationship with that person.
Enduring Power of Attorney (under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988)
This is when someone authorises another person or persons to act on their behalf to manage their affairs. An enduring power of attorney may relate to the person's property or to their personal care and welfare or both.
The money and property of a deceased person.
Information provided by a party to establish facts to support their case.
A person appointed by the deceased in their will to administer their estate.
See without notice
An item, such as a marriage or civil union certificate, that is used as evidence in proceedings. Often exhibits will be attached to affidavits.
Evidence given by a skilled witness on matters relating to their profession e.g. a child psychologist.
A division of the District Court that was established under the Family Court Act 1980 as a place where people living in New Zealand could get help with family problems.
The Family court deals with the following family matters:
Adoption; care of children (guardianship, day-to-day care, access); domestic violence; relationship property; paternity; separation and dissolution of marriage; mental health; protection of personal and property rights; care and protection of abused and neglected children; claims for maintenance and support out of the estate of deceased persons; and child support assessments.
Family court co-ordinator (FCC)
A person appointed under The Family Courts Act 1980 to provide information in relation to the Family Court and specialist services such as counselling.
FCCs liaise with and make referrals to counsellors, specialist report writers, social workers and lawyer for the child.
Family group conference (FGC) (under the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989)
A private formal family meeting arranged by a care and protection co-ordinator to make decisions and recommendations in relation to the care and protection of a child or young person.
Lodging an application or other document at a court. This can be done in person or by mail.
The decision of a court that ends the proceedings.
The time set down for a court hearing.
Formula assessment (under the Child Support Act)
The amount of child support that must be paid by the liable parent.
An order granting the applicant of a protection order, possession of all or any of the furniture, household appliances and household effects in the house that they and the person against whom the order is made are, or were living in.
A person who has duties, rights and responsibilities in relation to a child's upbringing. The mother of a child is always natural guardian of a child. The court can appoint additional guardians.
Guardian ad litem
A person appointed by a court to represent a minor or any other person in any proceeding where that appears necessary.
The duties, power, rights and responsibilities in relation to a child's upbringing, e.g. religion, education and health.
Guardianship is usually exercised by a parent, but may also be exercised by another person appointed by the Family Court.
An international agreement establishing procedures to ensure the prompt return of children who are taken to another country without the agreement of the person who has day-to-day care of them, as well as to protect rights of contact for persons living in a different country to that of the child.
The consideration of an application by a Court, usually by a Judge.
The court that deals with major civil cases, the most serious criminal cases and some appeals, including appeals from the Family Court.
Inpatient order [under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992]
An order requiring a person to be detained in a hospital specified in the order for treatment.
An application for a Court order or direction in relation to a matter of procedure, or for a temporary order.
A Court order that lasts for a limited period or until a further or final order is made.
When someone dies without having made a valid will.
The order of the court in relation to an application. It is also used to refer to the reasons given by the Judge for the judgment.
A hearing before a Judge to discuss the issues of a case and what needs to be done to bring the case to resolution.
The authority that a particular court has to deal with matters brought before it.
Justice of the Peace (JP)
A person appointed by the Governor-General, who can witness signatures on documents, take oaths and affirmations and issue warrants.
Lawyer for the child
A lawyer appointed by the court to represent a child involved in, or affected by proceedings in the Family Court. They used to be called "counsel for the child".
Leave of the Court
Permission by the court to do something.
This is financial assistance to enable people who cannot afford to be represented by a lawyer in court proceedings. The Legal Services Agency decides whether a person is entitled to legal aid.
Liable parent (under the Child Support Act 1991)
The parent who pays child support.
A person who is given approval by the Judge to assist a party in court. A McKenzie Friend can give advice to the party and take notes, but they cannot ask questions in court or talk about the case with anyone else.
The provision of money, property, and services.
A Court order that a spouse or de facto partner provide financial support for another.
Mediation Conference (under the Care of Children Act and the Children Young Persons and their Families Act)
A conference chaired by a Judge where parties try to resolve disputes and reach an agreement to avoid the need for a defended hearing. Any party can request a mediation conference.
Memorandum of issues
A document setting out the matters that need to be resolved by the court.
Mental disorder [under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992]
A legal rather than a medical term indicating an abnormal state of mind of such a degree that it poses a serious danger to the health or safety of that person or others, or seriously diminishes the capacity of that person to take care of himself or herself.
A person under the age of 20.
A sworn statement made in front of a person who is an authorised witness e.g. a Judge, registrar, lawyer or Justice of the Peace that something is true or right. An oath is based on the religious beliefs of the person making it, e.g. a Christian would swear an oath on the Bible and a Muslim would swear on the Koran.
Occupation Order (under the Domestic Violence Act 1995)
An order granting a person the right to personally occupy a dwellinghouse.
An application that is served (service) on the other party (respondent) so that they have an opportunity to take part in the hearing of the application before a decision is made.
A parenting agreement is where separated parents or guardians set out their own arrangements for looking after the children. Parenting agreements usually deal with arrangements for day-to-day care, arrangements for contact with the children, or other issues to do with the children's care, development and upbringing (such as school or religion).
An order made by the Family Court that says who is responsible for day-to-day care of a child, and when and how someone else important in the child's life can have contactwith them. Parenting orders can be enforced just like any other order of the Court. Parenting order is the new name for custody or access order.
A person who is an applicant or respondent in any proceedings.
The legal word for fatherhood.
A Court order declaring who is the father of a child. For the purposes of child support, a paternity order is conclusive evidence that the person against whom it is made is the father of the child.
Personal Order (under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988)
If a person becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions, the Court can make a personal order for their protection. A personal order is an instruction given by a Judge requiring an action to be taken to look after a specific part of an incapacitated person's care and welfare.
An executor or administrator of a will whose duty is to settle the affairs and dispose of the property of a person who has died. This person stands in for, and conducts the affairs of, the person who has died.
Place of safety warrant (under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989)
A document issued by a court authorising a social worker or a member of the Police to enter premises and search for and remove, or detain if necessary, a child or young person.
Plan (under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989)
A document filed in the Family Court by a social worker, which sets out what is to happen for a particular child who is in need of care or protection.
Power of Attorney
An authority given by one person to another to act for him or her, particularly in business or legal matters.
An 'enduring' power of attorney continues to be in force until the person granting the power cancels it, dies or the court revokes it.
Guidelines issued by the Principal Family Court Judge that set out procedures and timeframes to be followed in proceedings before the court.
A decision in a previous case used to support a decision in a later, similar case. In the Family Court, precedents are not binding, which means that Family Court Judges are not required to follow earlier decisions although they will be guided by these decisions where they are relevant.
A conference with a Judge attended by parties and/or their lawyers to discuss whether a matter is ready to proceed to a hearing.
Privileged document/Privileged information
A document or information that a party cannot be made to disclose in court.
An application, or applications being considered by a court. The filing of an application commences a proceeding.
Property Manager (under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988)
A person or trustee corporation appointed by the Court to manage property of another person who is unable to manage the property for him or herself.
Proposed Patient [under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992]
A person for whom an application has been made to the Director of Area Mental Health Services.
Protected person (under the Domestic Violence Act 1995)
A person protected by a protection order issued under the Domestic Violence Act 1995.
Protection order (under the Domestic Violence Act 1995)
A Court order forbidding domestic violence by the respondent or associated respondents against the protected person.
Qualifying custodian (under the Child Support Act 1991)
The parent who is paid child support.
Getting back together.
An officer of the court who is responsible for keeping records relating to proceedings in the court, and who also exercises some judicial powers.
A list of cases with issues, usually relating to procedure, that is dealt with by a registrar to progress.
This includes the family home, car, household furniture and appliances (even if one person owned this property before the relationship), and all property acquired by either partner during the relationship.
The movement of a child to another part of New Zealand or overseas by the parent with day-to-day care of the child.
The person against whom an application is made.
Respondent (under the Domestic Violence Act 1995)
A person who has had a protection order made against them.
Responsible Clinician [under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992]
The clinician in charge of the treatment of a patient under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992. The clinician must hold a professional qualification relevant to the assessment treatment and care of a patient with a mental disorder.
Restraining order (under the Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1989)
A Court order that prevents a person from doing certain specified things, e.g. visiting another person's house.
A procedural law relating to the way cases are considered by a court, e.g. the Family Courts Rules.
Self-represented litigant (litigant in person)
A party who is not represented by a lawyer.
This is an agreement that covers issues such as day-to-day care of and contact with children, division of any property, and records the date of separation. If the agreement covers division of property, a lawyer must certify that each spouse or civil union partner has received independent legal advice.
A formal court order which means that you have no obligation to live with your spouse or civil union partner.
Service (of documents)
The formal delivery of a document, e.g. an application, to a person who will be affected by it.
There are rules about service of documents (for example, service may have to be personal, rather than by post or fax).
Services Order (under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989)
A Court order directing a person or organisation to provide services and assistance to a parent, guardian or other person having the care of a child.
Deciding the date on which a matter will have a hearing.
Reaching agreement on a dispute without having a defended hearing or before a defended hearing has been concluded.
Social worker (under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989)
A person employed by the Department of Child Youth and Family Services (CYF).
A cultural report, or a report from a psychiatrist, psychologist or other medical professional.
A person's wife or husband.
Arguments that are presented to the court in support of an application.
A court order that changes the way that a document is required to be served.
The process of transferring the assets of a deceased person to the beneficiaries entitled to receive those assets.
A person who inherits a right to some title or office.
A court document requiring a person to appear in court on a particular day. If the person fails to appear, a warrant may be issued for their arrest.
This is a visit with a child that is monitored by another person. It used to be called "supervised access".
Support order (under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989)
A Court order directing a person or organisation to provide support to a child or young person.
The highest court for New Zealand.
Tenancy order (under the Domestic Violence Act 1995)
An order granting a person tenancy of a dwelling house.
The legal standard of whether a person has sufficient mental capacity to make a will.
A person who makes a will.
An obligation under which a person having the control of property (the trustee) is bound to deal with that property either for the benefit of certain persons (the beneficiaries) or for some object or purpose permitted by the law.
A person to whom an estate is transferred (e.g. under a will) in trust for another (the beneficiary)
Property subject to a trust.
A form of guardianship in which the High Court or Family Court becomes the child's guardian. This suspends the parents or other guardians from that role.
A court document giving someone the legal right to do something e.g. to arrest someone or search someone's premises. A Judge or Registrar can issue a warrant.
Welfare guardian (under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988)
A person appointed by the Family Court to make decisions on behalf of another person who is totally unable to make decisions about their personal care and well being.
A legal document expressing a person's wishes for dealing with his or her property and other matters after the person dies.
Offers made, or positions taken, during mediation or negotiation which are not binding if the parties do not reach an agreement. These offers or positions may not be taken into account if the matter goes to a hearing.
An application that is not served on the person to be affected by it (the respondent) and therefore they do not take part in the hearing of the application.
A person who gives evidence in court on oath or solemn affirmation.
Young Person (under the Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1989)
A boy or girl age 14 or over, but under 17.