Urgent help

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About urgent applications

If you need help urgently, you can ask the Family Court to act immediately for most Court Orders. This is called a without notice application.

A judge will decide if they will make an urgent Order (usually an Interim or Temporary Order) based only on what you say in your application. If they make an urgent Order, they’ll then give the other person a chance to ask the court not to make the Order or to make an Order on different terms.

Use of lawyers

You can use a lawyer to help you make a without notice application and to represent you in court. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be able to get:

Forms for urgent applications

You can apply without going through a lawyer.

Get the forms you need from each section of this website. Make sure you choose the 'without notice' option.

Popular forms

Apply for a Protection Order

Apply for a Parenting Order or Order to Settle a Dispute between Guardians

What you need to show

Judges need a very good reason to make an urgent Order without hearing from both sides first.

A judge will make an urgent Order if you can show that the time needed to let the other person respond before the Order is made (on notice application) could lead to:

  • serious injury
  • undue hardship
  • risk to your personal safety or any of your children’s personal safety or both
  • your child being taken out of New Zealand without your permission.

Because the judge is making a decision based on what you say, you must be open and honest and give both sides of the story when you apply. You have to provide all relevant information even if this is not helpful to your case.

Filing your application

You or your lawyer will need to file your without notice application with the Family Court. You can deliver it personally or email it.

Find out more about filing your application

Find the address of your local court

Email a without notice application

Your address for service

In your application you’ll need to include an ‘address for service’. This is a New Zealand address that the other person can use to serve you with documents if they decide to ask the court not to make the Order or to make an Order on different terms.

You can ask Family Court staff to not use your contact details if you’re worried about the safety of you or your children. You can use your lawyer’s business address as your address for service.

Responding to an urgent Order

Usually applications to the court are made on notice, which means that the other person has time to decide how they’ll respond to what’s being asked for before an Order is made. If they choose, they can ask the court not to make the Order or to make the Order on different terms. This is known as defending the application.

If a judge makes an urgent Order, the other person will be given a copy of the application and any Order made, and then given the right to respond before a final Order is made.

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