Get a child returned to New Zealand

If your child has been taken from New Zealand or kept overseas without your agreement, you should:

You should take action as soon as possible. Any delay may later be seen as a lack of concern about the child being overseas without your agreement.

The options that are available to you will depend on which country your child has been taken to or is being kept in.

Hague Convention countries

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction is an international agreement between a number of countries. It aims to make sure that children who are taken or kept overseas are returned as quickly as possible to the country in which they usually live. The Hague Convention assumes that the courts in the country where the child usually lives are best able to make decisions about the child.

Apply to get your child back under the Hague Convention

If your child has been taken to a Hague Convention country, you need to contact the Ministry of Justice or a lawyer. They will check if the Hague Convention applies. The lawyer will help you fill in the forms.

Postal address:
Central Authority, Hague Convention
Ministry of Justice
SX10088
Wellington
New Zealand

Write the address as written above and send it the same way as any other mail. You can use an NZ Post mail box. If you use a DX mail box your mail will get to us faster (external link)

Phone: 04 918 8800 (or +64 4 918 8800 if you are outside New Zealand)
Fax: 04 918 8820

Contact person: Patricia Bailey – Patricia.Bailey@justice.govt.nz

Countries that aren’t part of the Hague Convention

If your child has been taken to a country that has not signed the Hague Convention, you might still be able to get them returned to New Zealand.

You need to talk to a specialist lawyer in New Zealand if you’re in this situation.
Find a lawyer on the Law Society’s website (external link)

In most cases, you’ll also need to hire a lawyer in the overseas country to help you get your child back. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be able to give you a list of lawyers in the overseas country.
Contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (external link)

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