Cost Contribution Order

A Cost Contribution Order is when the court says you have to pay towards the cost of specialist reports, appointment of lawyer for child or lawyer to assist the court. You may have to pay even if your application is withdrawn or if you sort out the dispute between yourselves after applying.

Reasons you may not have to pay a share of the costs

You may not have to pay a share of the costs if: 

  • you’re getting legal aid
  • contributing to costs will cause you or your dependent children serious hardship
  • the court matter is about a child or young person placed in your care under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 (external link)
  • the application is about a child abducted to or from New Zealand
  • a lawyer is appointed to help the court with a complex legal matter – you won’t be asked to contribute to the costs of that lawyer.
  • the judge decides it’s not appropriate in the circumstances.

Lawyer for the child & specialist report writer costs

If you’re getting legal aid you usually don’t have to pay back any costs for a lawyer for the child or a specialist report writer.

The cost of a lawyer or specialist report writer is based on the time they spend on the case, as well as travel and other expenses.

The government pays at least one third of these costs. Unless the judge thinks there’s a reason not to, you and the other people involved in the case will need to pay the rest.

People may be ordered to pay their share or a proportion of two-thirds of the cost. The government will pay one third.

If you have to pay a Cost Contribution Order you’ll be told by the court.

You can apply to the court if you think that:

  • contributing to the cost of services will cause your dependent children or yourself serious hardship
  • the circumstances of the case mean that you shouldn't pay the same amount as other parties to the case.

Use this form to apply to the court:

Submissions on contributions to the cost of service provision [PDF, 374 KB]

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