Edmonds Judd

Kids


Input is needed from Mum and Dad

When a couple separates, there is sometimes a major dispute when parents or caregivers can’t agree on the care arrangements for their children. Communication has broken down and mediation hasn’t worked, so one parent (or both) applies to the Family Court to decide the details of the children’s care.

What does the Family Court take into account when dealing with battling parents or caregivers? Many parents say, “I want to care for my kids, but I still want the other parent involved in their lives.” Others say, “Why should I participate? The other side is going to win anyway.” The reality is that not only legally but also morally, children have a right to a relationship with both Mum and Dad.

The assumption

Historically, it was common practice in the western world for the mother to stay home with the children, while the father went to work. Mum is a full-time parent — or the more ‘hands-on’ parent. So when Mum and Dad separate, the assumption is that the children stay with Mum.

Inevitably, the relationship between the children and Dad starts to fade. They’ve gone from seeing Dad every day, to visiting him in the weekends or the holidays, or sometimes not at all.

The situation becomes worse when communication between the parents breaks down. The children start to feel that they have to pick sides. These assumptions and scenarios often come up in court.

A number of people believe that the Family Court is biased towards mothers. Some have also mentioned that they don’t think they will get a say about their children’s care — because they have been violent, or they have a history of criminal activity or drug abuse.

There are cases where one parent hasn’t participated in the proceedings, apparently due to these incorrect assumptions.

The court, however, has a duty to put children at the forefront of its decisions, and this is assisted by input from both their parents or caregivers.

The law

At a hearing, the court follows the objectives and principles of the Care of Children Act 2004.

The paramount principle is that the court must act in the welfare and best interests of a child. In order to determine that, the court looks at other principles, one of which is that children have a right to a relationship with both parents (and wider whānau). The Family Court is aware of studies and statistics confirming that children thrive more when both parents are involved (safely) in their day-to-day lives.

It is very unusual for the Family Court to make an order that doesn’t make provision for both parents to care for their children.

It is important that both parents participate so they both get a say in their children’s care. If a parent doesn’t take part in the proceedings, a decision will be made without their input. Once a final decision is made, it could be a long time before it is looked at by a court again.

Participate

If there are live Family Court proceedings about the care of your children or children in your wider family, make sure you contact our family lawyers and actively participate in the court process. It doesn’t matter if you saw your children yesterday or if you haven’t seen them in years, you are their parent and your voice matters. Otherwise, it will be your children who will be the ones missing out.

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui

(Be strong, be brave, be steadfast).


Holiday houses

Rules for both owners and renters

With New Zealand’s borders closed and overseas travel restricted for the foreseeable future, many Kiwis will be looking to rent a holiday home for the traditional summer holiday this year.

There are plenty of options on sites such as Bachcare, Bookabach, Holiday Houses and Airbnb as well as renting a holiday house privately. Whether you own a holiday home and are looking for some extra income, or you want to rent a place for the whānau Christmas, there are a few things to remember.

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Time for a contracting out agreement?

You have had years of saving up for the overseas experience many New Zealanders dream of — then a pandemic hits. The London job you thought you had in the bag is no longer an option, and you and your partner are faced with extending the lease on your flat here — that you were eagerly awaiting to escape. What do you do now?

In 2020, many couples have found themselves cashing out what would have been their big OE savings stash and using it for a house deposit. Others have leapt at the banks’ lower interest rates to extend their borrowing and have bought properties that were unattainable only a year ago. All over the country, and particularly in Auckland, the property market is flooded with returning expats who are establishing roots back here — often earlier than anticipated.

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Postscript

Privacy Act 2020 comes into force on 1 December 2020

The new privacy legislation comes into force as this edition of Fineprint is published; it updates the law to reflect the needs of the digital age. Although we published an article on this topic in the Winter edition, we remind you that the key changes relate to:

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Water was the hot topic in the 2017 election campaign. This year, with an election coming up shortly, there seems to have been little talk of water (or much policy at all, so far) with Covid still taking up most of the news space, closely followed by scandals of various sorts.

The National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020 (the Freshwater NES), however, are due to be published later this year. Some parts of it will take effect 28 days after it is published while other parts won’t come into effect until the winter of 2021. This year is more than half over, and with the first half of the year being severely disrupted by the Covid lockdown and because the election is looming, there can be no certainty that the new Freshwater NES will be published this year. There is no certainty as to what form it will take, given we may not know which parties will form the government – perhaps sometime in October.

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Rural leases

More on COVID and access issues to land

In the Autumn edition of Rural eSpeaking we discussed the situation that Covid had caused with leases where tenants were unable to access their premises due to lockdown restrictions. Potential issues for the rural leasing sector arose from this problem, particularly given that rural leases are often in a different form to urban commercial property leases.

The article pointed out that the main lease issue due to Covid was the inability of tenants to access their premises. Since we published the Autumn edition, the government has announced that it proposes further changes to the Property Law Act 2007 where it would imply in certain leases a clause similar to that in the latest version of Auckland District Law Society (ADLS) lease, section 27.5, where a tenant has:

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Postscript

Smoking in motor vehicles with children now banned

Smoking in motor vehicles when children under the age of 18 years old are present is now prohibited. The passing of the Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor
Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Act 2020 has made this an offence.

Police will now have the discretion to issue on-the-spot fines of $50 for those who are caught smoking in cars with children, or they may issue warnings or refer people to stop-smoking agencies.

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New Privacy Act comes into force in December

The Privacy Bill is on its third reading in Parliament and will now become law on
1 December 2020. It will repeal and replace the current Privacy Act 1993, and
will update the law to reflect the continually-evolving needs of the digital age.

Why new legislation?

Your personal information is stored in many places by organisations such as businesses,
government agencies, healthcare providers, financial institutions, social network platforms and telecommunications companies (called ‘agencies’ in the new legislation).

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Emission control

What the Zero Carbon Act means for business

One of the most significant pieces of new legislation introduced last year was the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019, more commonly referred to as the ‘Zero Carbon Act’.

The legislation outlines the government’s targets over the next 30 years (by the year 2050) of net greenhouse gas emissions of zero and to reduce methane emissions by up to 47%.

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