E2NZ Redux. Trapped In NZ – Father Won’t Let Child Leave

trapped in nz

Even if your child was born and raised overseas your ex could trap them in NZ

March 2016

An Irish mother is taking her fight to leave New Zealand to the UN, claiming she is denied a fair trial. More here: link

24 October 2014

Are you affected by the subject matter of this article? there is a Facebook support group you may want to contact  https://www.facebook.com/ExpatStuckMums. Also, you may wish to join the discussion at the end of this page.

Available on Kindle: Don’t Let It Happen To You : What Every Mother Should Read Before Emigrating [Kindle Edition] by Rachel Tilley

Please also follow this article NZ Trapped Parents Watching Dorothy Lee Barnett Case

Continuing in our series of Migrant Tales – first hand accounts of the immigrant experience in New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.

The following was taken from an immigration forum and highlights a problem experienced by many migrants in New Zealand – that of a parent being refused permission to take their child out of the country when a relationship breaks up. This by no means applies only to mothers being trapped in New Zealand, fathers have the same problems too.

The problem isn’t unique to New Zealand but the country’s isolation, and the many problems working & living in NZ presents, make a sad situation even more heart-breaking for the children and the families involved.

Many parents are caught between a rock and a hard place and find that they have no option other than to remain in the country if they still want access to their children, even if the child was born outside of NZ.

I am in a heart breaking situation and i wondered if anyone else had been in a similar one. If so they I would love to hear from you, or any other thoughts.

I am British and my daughter was born in England in 2007, her father is a kiwi and he was on a working holiday over in London. The relationship was never really ideal, but we decided it was a great idea to move to New Zealand to give our daughter a great childhood etc, so that’s wehat we did when she was 7 months old.

Unfortunately New Zealand and I never really gelled, and I really have tried hard. I was disappointed with my job prospects over here mainly having enjoyed a great and lucrative career over in the UK, and missed the family support that I had at home in England. Unfortunately my relationship with my ex-partner dissolved for various reasons. When did finally separate we had been living in New Zealand for 2 years. We never married or anything.

I had been thinking for quite some time about returning home to England, but my ex-partner refused to allow our daughter to come back with me. I then appplied to the NZ courts to allow myself and our daughter to return to England. This was back in January and I have been on an emotional and isolating journey ever since. Unfortunately the law in New Zealand is not on my side and I am feeling very much the foreigner over here. I really wish I had known the risks before I came over here. It seems that New Zealand are very reluctant to allow a child to relocate out of New Zealand once they have been resident here. I have provided my lawyer with so many examples of reasons for us relocating back to the UK such as finances, family, friends, house, my parents being ill, but nothing is taken into account with any of this and I am so shocked by it!

I have never tried to do a “runner” or anything like that (I’ve read other scary stories about people who have tried it!) and am friendly and supportive of my ex and his relationship with our daughter. It’s a such as sad situation, especailly for our daughter but I feel that I can’t face living in New Zealand until she turns 16. So I’m faced with the likelihood that my daughter is trapped in New Zealand and therefore so am I. I am desprately miserable here, but what can I do? I could leave anyway without my daughter, and from speaking to my lawyer the courts here would happily take that situation and keep my daughter here in NZ.

Hopefully we will get to a court hearing in January, which is a year since I applied to the courts. Feeling very lost. Would love some opinions.” (NB. emphasis ours)

Please read the comments left below from people in a similar situation.

Other reading (links from Expat stuck mums

  • Habitual Residence under Brussels II (revised) – Nick Allen, of 29 Bedford Row, looks at the interpretation of habitual
    residence under Brussels II Revised following the recent judgment of Marinos v Marinos
  • Fordham Law Review – International Child Abuduction and the Escape from Domestic Violence – An academic paper outlining the shortfalls of The Hague Convention with regards to Mums who’ve ‘abducted’ their kids to escape domestic violence.
  • University of Minnesota CEHD Global Justice – Groundbreaking Research Shows Hague Convention Rules Disadvantage Battered Women

237 thoughts on “E2NZ Redux. Trapped In NZ – Father Won’t Let Child Leave

  1. I am in a similar situation, and what is more, I know 3 other women in that same situation JUST in my town (which is not large) in New Zealand. Like you, I encouraged my child’s relationship with father despite his issues and tried to keep things as civil as possible, didn’t try any runners, and got absolutely no credit for any of it. I do not socialise widely, so there could be yet more mothers within a few km of here, as well, but I wouldn’t know it. I suspect there are actually a great many of us all told, all sitting quietly in purgatory. Maybe we should get together and talk. It’s hard to share with others, because they just don’t understand. In my case, there was more than one child concerned. Only my one child with the Kiwi father was of interest to the court, not my other children (who have a different father–previous marriage). Yes, we believed the hype about it being a “better place for children”, hype also repeated by the one child’s father, and it took about a year and a half before the bubble burst. The other children’s dislike of living here, and the distress their Kiwi stepfather had caused them with his behaviour (not to mention issues that would have gained me custody anywhere else but here), was of no concern or interest to them. So while the mother (myself) and other children did not want to stay in New Zealand, the father wanted to stay here in “his” home, and played his home field advantage (after stonewalling our life until he GOT jurisdiction in the first place), so the youngest child was ordered to stay, and so therefore I had to stay if I wanted to be near him and watch over him (a necessity with the father the way he is). I found very little of our reality was represented in court, and the father was catered to enormously. They worked off of a strict formula of “recent research on children needing two parents”, and nothing else but that, and in fact I sensed the judgment had already been made before we even went to court, based on that one gross rule of thumb. Moreover, one that derives from faulty conclusions of research whose raw data did not actually support those conclusions (see http://www.thelizlibrary.org/site-index/site-index-frame.html#soulhttp://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/lamb-kelly.html). Their focus was very narrow and formulaic. Everything the father had done was utterly minimised, and everything he alleged about myself was blown out of proportion and listened to in an effort to “balance the parties’ crimes out/equalise us” and thus dispose of the case because of their enormous backlog (years!). It was clear during the proceedings that the judge had not even read the details of the affidavits (what details I had managed to ensure stayed in there, which were very few). The affidavits were altered beyond recognition by my lawyer, who kept telling me I was not permitted to be negative in any way, because it would “go against me”, and scratched large numbers of relevant facts out of them, so our reality could not even be truthfully represented.

    Madam, you can’t say you are miserable in paradise – they’ll think you are crazy! And of course you shouldn’t be able to take the child, then, crazy lady. You can’t say that you can’t make ends meet here – they’ll just tell you that you’re bad with money. Didn’t you know that New Zealand is an inexpensive place to live? Of course, that is bad for the child too, to have a mum who seemingly doesn’t count her pennies. There is absolutely nothing you can say to these people that will convey the utter misery of living in their remote, provincial, drug-ridden, overpriced and opportunity-less hellhole because “it’s not New Zealand – it’s never New Zealand. YOU are the one with the problem if you want to leave”. God forbid you decide on counseling to help you cope (funds were earmarked to provide more counseling given the number of suicides Family Court was dealing with!), because the other party will make hay of that in court. So you can’t even go for counseling without it being used against you. The thick layers of bureaucracy and inability to simply tell it like it was – it was Kafkaesque. It took years even to get a hearing in the first place. Years! By then my other children had grown up in the shadow of the dispute and so years of the life we WANTED and still want to live have simply been swallowed up by NZ Family Court. We, too, are in limbo and wondering how long we can last like this, everyone having their plans on hold (including people back home who want to see if we can return or not) so one child can be near one parent, who simply wants to keep a job that he likes on his own home field, and nothing more. New Zealand is VERY strongly anti-relocation, among other things because it is so expensive to travel here that they fear the child will not be able to come back and visit the other parent, once permitted to leave, due to the high cost of air travel. So they just choose to trap migrant parents here instead. Great solution, eh. I am sure there are scores of us living in this purgatory. I have been vocal about this issue with any couples I know who are not happy living here, and one already, I know, as a result of my warnings, has refused to have children with her Kiwi partner until they could move back to her own, more developed homeland. Needless to say, she breathed a sigh of relief once she got back safe and sound. I hope that your sharing your story, and me sharing mine, will make people rethink moving here, or rethink having children here if they do not absolutely love it. I hope to god you can leave before she is 16. That is one long sentence, and one I am sure you don’t deserve. The new developments in Rosa v. Rosa (that is, the mother in the remote dismal mining town in Australia who was trapped so her daughter could be near her father, who refused to leave his job for everyone’s sake) may have some tiny ripples, but I am holding out no hope. I am going to keep filing (and thereby unfortunately being forced to use income that should rightfully be buying a home and college for all these children!) until we get to go home, where we want to be. It could be that your daughter’s opinion (if she herself wants to go back to the UK) would be listened to before the age of 16, and you could go home sooner. But generally, the longer they can keep the kids here, the more accustomed to the status quo in NZ they become, and they make friends and are afraid to change, etc., and the less chance they will share your opinion that the UK is a better place to live. I was disgusted by my experience with the courts. To anyone reading this – New Zealand is not in favor of relocation, so don’t think that you can “go back home” if you don’t like it here. You may well be chained for life if you want to stay near your children.

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    • im yet another one trapped in purgatory here in nz. the one thing that i never can understand is how people in nz always tell me i should just go back home as im just the father, and start a new life. there is no way i could ever leave my children. unfortunatly i have to live in a underdeveloped, expensive, low job prospect country that i have nothing in common with ( im canadian which some say is similar, but i havnt found that at all)

      seems there are alot of other expats trapped here in nz.. might be worth setting up a dedicated web page on the issue, if any one is interested let me know

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    • It’s me, the original author of this article. Courts not gone well. Unable to relocate home to UK for the “forseeable future” Really would love to get in touch for some support and friend making

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      • Giving you more idea than “foreseeable future” would be kinder than letting you fester in limbo down here. It’s the limbo that kills, doesn’t it. If you knew what your sentence would actually be (until they are 16 and can choose where they live? can you even stay sane until then? will your kid even want to go at that point? will you be a lifer?), it would be different. You could mark the days off on a calendar. Years of not knowing and fruitlessly hoping “they’ll let you go next time”…it’s a kind of torture.

        John, I have heard horror stories from blokes, too. One man in AKL had a meth-using Kiwi wife. Made no difference.

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      • Hi Helene,

        I am in a similar situation too. I want to take my son back to Australia but his Father won’t allow it. I live in one of the most expensive towns in NZ but the wages in this area are generally one of the lowest in the entire country?! I feel that when it comes to my ex it is more about him ‘winning’ and having power over me than it is to do with truly wanting more access to his son. To make matters worse, when we split my son and I and were entitled to nothing from him (financially) as his house was in a Trust and I currently receive $19 per week in child support. I am outraged, I feel cheated and more than anything I am just so homesick all the time. I realise that there are a lot of Fathers out there that have been screwed over by the family court system in the past and that is why the courts have decided to treat Fathers equally now, however I feel that they are overcompensating for past injustices and now Mothers like you and I, Helene, are paying for their past bad judgements.

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        • I tell you I am a New Zealand woman and experienced being trapped in this shared care arrangement for years by my ex husband who happens to be from UK. Confining me to living in a ‘back water’ city to please his own needs of brainwashing her and making sure I do not have a financial future to provide all the good things of life.

          Well, he has 90% succeeded in his plan and now he has abandoned all contact with her when his last marriage failed. Blamed her for it!

          So now, its just the two of us with no suppport except a goverment benefit and now she is 14 I am being beaten up by Work and Income regularly, they love to make me cry.

          So, this game playing that the NZ Family Courts put people through is tough on everyone, and they say that they are looking out for the children. Joke. The lawyers and the judges have no idea what the children really want. Just bleed the parents of the money to pay for the next holiday overseas. The don’t care about the misery it causes, nor do they understand, because many of them don’t have children.

          I am still not over the pain and sorrow that this man has brought on my family. He also violated me in front of my other three children from a previous marriage.

          So, for anybody going through these kinds of things you have my sympathy. Just one final not, its differcult for me to share this kind of information. So. please respect this and do not post any bad comments.

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          • I too am trapped in a shared care arrangement with a difficult man who also happens to be from the UK. He has played the system to get what he wants, to gain control, and I can’t believe the system has let him, encouraged him even. He has made my life so difficult its almost beyond belief. I agree the game playing the Family Court allows and encourages is crazy. They are not looking out for the children like they say they are. They have no idea what the children really want, and don’t seem to listen to the mothers who know & understand them best.

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    • Hi there. I read all your comments with great interest. i sympathise with you all, I really do.

      I’m writing a book about our blended family’s attempts to relocate from one of the poorest areas of New Zealalnd to the capital city Wellington for work purposes. Its being written as a black comedy otherwise I’d be throwing myself off the nearest cliff.

      I woud like however to hear of your stories which I would like to use as other examples. Or if I have to disguise it as fiction ( already been warned off by one lawyer!) develop some stories based on actual events.

      I’d love to hear from you. take care

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      • hello, i read you are currently interested in this topic, and i think my situation is very relevant. i am in wanganui and wanting to relocate to wellington (where i am from and where we met). i am a single mum to 3 children. i have only been in wanganui 4 years and am feeling very iscolated, i have no friends, no support here at all! communication is really good between me and the dad however he has now started saying he can’t just come over when ever i want. the other day i was nearly at breaking point stressing about money and i needed a break just a little break just an hour that is all, but he said he can’t just come over when ever i want him too, so clearly i don’t have the support any support here. if i am forced to stay here i think i will be very down. nothing worse than having to stay in a place you don;t like, with no support, anyway it is still in the looooong court process, hopefully i will recieve a outcome soon.

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  2. One very painful thing is that when you move to New Zealand, you do expect to be able to travel some, to keep in touch with relatives and friends back home. It seems like it will be just an air ticket away if something happens. But when you move here, your money flees. You do not have that expendable income anymore, and travel back home is impossibly expensive. So when relatives or friends become ill, you cannot just zip back to be with them easily. It is terribly painful to be down in the middle of nowhere and unable to leave easily when relatives and friends back home are struggling with illness. You do want to be with them, to help and comfort and even give money, but you cannot do any of those things.

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  3. A lady named Elena Ustyuzhanina had a very sad story on http://www.petitiononline.co.nz not long ago.

    She experienced the same migrant discrimination in favour of the Kiwi father who was a sailor, and the court snatched her young child from her and gave to the sailor father, who is at sea all the time and the The poor biological mother, the one who gave birth to and raised this child to the age she is now, cannot even see her own child, because they blamed her for the child’s fear of the father and would not recognise the fear was real.

    Surely more of the same nonsense as people report above.

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    • Oh my god, I find that disgusting. It;s like they think the dad is MORE important than the mum, just because he’s the local boy and the mum is the foreigner. Poor mum, my heart goes out to this lady! Believe me, I know, I am the original author of this article. When I first came to NZ, I would never have believed such prejudices existed in this day and age. My ex is a lay about pot smoking adolescent of a man with no career or motivation (I could really go into so many reasons here, but I won’t). I, on the other hand am organised, academic, caring, just an all round good egg, not to mention an evidentially loving mother. And amazingly, the NZ courts will justify in their twisted way brownie points for the kiwi boy. The one that really incensed me was the justification for him being on the DPB (for those of you from the UK, this is the kiwi version of the dole). They actually stated that for him to be unemployed was in our daughters best interests because it meant that he was constantly available to our daughter and that takes precedence over a working parent. C’mon, since when does a school age child benefit from a parent claiming benefits!? Most 2 parents families NEED to work. Because a the end of the day our drive is to provide for our children. I feel like my way of thinking is not just from a different country, but from a different planet some days. And I’m a tax payer…grr!

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      • Contact the webmaster! I am sure many of us on this thread can be put in touch for support. Living in New Zealand puts an entirely different spin on the usual Family Court horrors.

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        • We’re very happy to put people in touch with each other so they can form a support and information network.

          Leave your details expressing an interest, all communications will be handled in the strictest confidence.

          Let us know if there’s more we can do to highlight this issue in the blog.

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      • ok i am kiwi my ex is kiwi but my fiance is americain and i want to relocate there. i have no parenting order in place i allow the father supervised visits as he is wasted most of the time and i want to keep my child away from that for as long as possible. he has said he wont let me leave the country or even the area. he will not even let me relocate in New Zealand. i am just about to start the first part of court processes, firstly a protection order as he is abusive. i would very much like to talk with some of you and be part of a support group. i am not happy here and i do think my baby needs a father figure but i dont think that has to be the biological father as up until now he has had stuff all contact and not wanted it. but he sees baby at f ‘fun stage now’ so wants to take him to his drug filled home. i hope and prey the courts wont allow him to be able to take him home. it will be very damanging to my childs developement.

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    • I am Evgeny Ustyuzhanin the father of my daughter ********. I am not a KIWI but I am Russian. Mother of ******** refused to take care of her own daughter in ultimative form in front of the judge in the Court. Since then my lives with me. There is nothing to do with immigrants discrimination there are alot to do with the lies****** ******* put all over Internet. And it is asame to use such a lies.

      edited to protect the innocent

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      • I checked this case out. The mother is outraged, outspoken, on a mission, and apparently feels that she, her daughter and son were treated unfairly. I do not know the details, but there is the possibility that – even if it wasn’t a knee-jerk pro-Kiwi decision – the mother’s refusal to hand over half the parenting time right off the bat, and her attitude towards the youth welfare institutions, led to her being “targeted” for her protective efforts, and there was no abuse or alienation involved on the mother’s part that would justify snatching the girl and refusing her access. She most certainly wanted to leave the country, a crime in itself. Shared parenting is generally preferred in the courts, but some teachers I have spoken with have told me off the record that the children who are bounced back and forth between homes do not do as well in school. The shared parenting approach is overwhelmingly favoured, however, regardless of a given parent’s ability parent, and when it does work, it is good, but it is not always the best thing for the children in all instances.

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        • i have just joined this site, and are finding it very refreshing to hear the truth being spoken, to an otherwise gagged public, i can agree that “shared-care” is looked at with more validity than sole position parenting.. even if the “other” parent is lacking in certain areas. It has been my experience as a kiwi myself, wishing to further our lives over-seas that the
          old boy network is alive and well in the court system,
          my daughter and i had the opportunity to live in A fantastic European city, alas was forced to stay with the option being I could go, but my daughter must stay. A heart wrenching decision for any mother to make. Thus i am still here, best part is I’m in full time care of her now and she has improved immensely through that long fought on decision. Any study or research on the issue of shared parenting can often been seen as quite an unsettling experience for children,physiologically and certainly emotionally but good old n.z seems to be in the twilight zone on so many issues, this just being one.

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          • I have just come across this site also, and likewise find it “refreshing to hear the truth being spoken to an otherwise gagged public”. Shared care is being given so much weight now. If you have been tricked into it in the first instance, to save your ex dollars on child support, as I was, you can be trapped into the arrangement for the remainder of your child’s upbringing, by the court. I was never happy with the arrangement. I felt it would be too unsettling for my child, but my ex simply wouldn’t listen because of the dollars it would save him. Now I am stuck with it for years, and have to continue dealing with a difficult man, and his unreasonable demands. I find it difficult to comprehend how the system has rendered me so powerless. As a mother, I feel I have very little rights or say regarding my child. How could the table have turned so drammatically in favour of fathers’ rights that mothers’ views are now being overridden and overlooked?

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      • mmmm?are you not a citizen now?did you not ,after abandoning your Napier family, move to Auckland, divorce your wife, help your first wife immigrate from Russia to NZ and marry her again and now have your daughter in her care , whilst you are at sea 6 weeks at a time??your story is scary and does not quite gell.
        If the wife that helped you get to this country is in a state of defense and has made a mistake along the way from sheer desperation at being in a foreign country that is not familiar with your culture, on her own with 2 children, it is a wonder to me and many others that she can still continue to fight for her rights within her own culture.Speak as you will but live with your own righteousness.You just have more streetwise methinks. poor children.

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  4. http://www.transitioning.org/2011/02/02/singaporean-woman-trapped-in-new-zealand-with-baby-son-after-divorce/

    Was led to your site after reading about this lady’s plight and finding this page.
    I was searching because have a friend stuck in New Zealand for the same reason. I thought I could find some information to help her, but I don’t think I can. Some child custody law was passed that made it less likely that anyone could get out, she said. At the same time, there is a terrible recession, few jobs, especially for foreigners, and high costs. New Zealanders and foreigners are all trying to leave. Based on what two Canadian friends with residency who had brushes in the New Zealand courts informed me, Kiwis seem to know exactly what to say in their own courts. Trained to parrot lines from an early age, as that poor woman and others found out.

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  5. http://www.divorce.co.nz/divorce/article/dsp_articledetail.php?article_id=106
    I found this too. and segments cut out
    An Interview with Jeremy Morley – of International Family Law in NY
    “Most countries look at the best interests of the child but what that means, varies incredibly according to who the local judge is and what the local standards are. It is a function of predicting what a court would do based on what you think sounds reasonable in the circumstances. But countries like New Zealand and Australia will be extremely hard to relocate out of, whereas England is likely to be much easier.”
    Is New Zealand similar to Australia?
    “I deal with huge numbers of typically women, who just want to go home. They are the “trailing spouse,” they trail behind their husband as he moves to NZ, or they fell in love with him somewhere and he is from NZ and the deal was that they would settle there. When the relationship ends she is left with no network, family, no friends and sometimes no job”

    Huge numbers.

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    • I am american trapped in oz. The court and even my own lawyers chastised me for daring to want to go home. The ex is abusive. A deadbeat a gambling addict who gambled away home. He wont work on purpose and i am forced to leave job early to drive kids to him for visits. Despite a college degree i am locked in poverty due to bad paying jobs for moms and now hav no job as last one was maternity leave position. He was lauded as great dad for even showing up in court after being forced to. My kids cant even visit america and tons of family. So therefore i cant as he has to be taken to court to even agree ti watch them. I was accused of being mental and a bad mother. It was taken as fact if he said it. Despite a psyche eval i was forced to take which said i was depressed alone stressed and suffering severe pts due to his abuse.
      We will be homeless if i dont find work asap.
      In the name of the children? What a crock.

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      • I hear you on that I have had an with out notice order placed on me for telling my husband I wanted to go home this order accused me of trying to abduct my children and stating I am a flight risk the scary thing is he did all of this while he was in possession of my childrens passports.
        I have been made to feel like a criminal for expressing my desires and I thought New Zealand was a free democratic country it is proving that its as bad as a communist state guilty until proven innocent all I will say is if you want to migrate here and have children dont

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  6. I was wondering if you have any situations like my friends. she is the mother of 2 children and all three are originally British and have now received permanent passports in NZ having been resident for 3.5 years and the father also British and with a permanent passport having been resident for 3.5 years has walked out on them for another woman but doesnt want the children to leave NZ. My friend and her children do however want to return home permanently to be with her family but are fearful that unless he signs the papers they won’t be allowed to. What advice can you give me for her. Are there any organisations she can contact.

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    • It is incredible that they can even trap children of other nationalities here if there is some Kiwi stake in the child’s affairs. But they do – all the time.

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    • get her to get some consent orders that in the event of a family member becoming ill that in such situation she can legally travel with the children to visist a sick relative….. Then just make sure someone is sick…. ” a relative” as determined by law could be anyone so to the finer details make sure its not too picky down to immediate family make it broad and leave it open you would be amazed how many great aunts and second cousins are unwell underhanded but not impossible!!

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    • going through a similar thing sadly help is not very readily available and courts here don’t favour relocating home I do however wish her every luck in the world

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  7. she is screwed. They will keep the kids forever and you will be stuck looking at him with the chippie having your kids half the time. sorry. my children want to leave too and the courts will not let them.

    interestingly they gotothe end of the world to pin parents down here who want to relocate against partner’s wishes but they are not too keen on tracking down parental abductors TO New Zealand. They just want to stop ones from leaving that their citizens and residents want to chain here in Tar Pit.

    http://dartcenter.org/content/children-underground-4

    “Even countries that have signed the Hague Treaty agreeing to honor custody orders are reluctant to devote their resources toward tracking parental abductors. Some are more reluctant than others: France, Ireland, New Zealand and the Eastern Bloc countries are the least interested in pursuing such cases, underground organizers claim.”

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  8. To the posters on this thread. I read that the court will not permit requested relocations of divorced parents out of Christchurch after the earthquakes, because of the bias against relocation and in favour of geographic status quo. Not a problem for a kid to have a building fall on them or be waiting for the next rumble or liquefaction episode, as long as they have both parents in the same town to be crushed along with t hem! LOL! Way to go and so typical – local rules, global drools.

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  9. I am a kiwi stuck in Australia, the best thing the NZ govt ever did was allow our overseas born children when you are not married to become NZ citizens without the other parents consent, with this in mind I must agree even though I am stuck here the NZ law still on this small level works in my favour. I would like to see someone do a study on the impact of all this on the children and the stranded parent! its wrong on so many levels but what actually is the answer! when it ruins peoples lives and opportunities it cant be right! The other side is that out of spite and malice these other parents generally use this law because they “can” without the best interests of the child or the thought for the other parent. I think they should have an international law where parenting agreements are made prior to birth for dual nationalised children/ and parents living away from home countries that are upheld on an international level. There are no support net works for these parents as family certainly is not around and the cost of travel as a single parent is ridiculous with managing children as well. Come on people lets make a site where we can really nut this out and legally create a UN solution????

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    • I totally agree with you- a pre-nup of some sort for parents of duel nationality should be an option. With a world of increasing travel and international relationships, it common sense (oh with hind sight- yes I’m a stuck mum in New Zealand). They should make it a clause on your immigration papers when you sign them “What protocol have you got in place should you relationship dissolve in X time?” We need to change the procedures for the sake of international families. Saving the court time, heart break, expense and depression of people. We all think of relocating abroad as exiting, but we need back up clauses.

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      • I do not know whether a pre-nup would trump their COCA justifications. Do not trust a verbal or written agreement that you can “return if it doesn’t work out”. Mine counted for nothing in the end, and I had it in writing – though it was not a pre-nup. Proof of this kind means nothing to the courts, who seem to believe the solution to the world’s problems means keeping a father in a child’s day-to-day life, regardless of the father’s actions to the detriment of his own family’s well-being or the child’s close attachment to, or need for, her mum. Father – the magic ingredient This is typical of the simplistic solutions they prefer in New Zealand, but the problem’s everywhere now. When women wanted the vote and entered the workforce, they left the window open for men to snatch some of women’s historic turf, and in some cases it’s fair enough that they do, while in others it is not.

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    • Debbie, I’m also a kiwi mum stuck in Australia and newly single. I am going to try and return to NZ with my kids via the legal system, as I am so exposed and vunrable here it’s ridiculous. I am currently studying, but was never able to apply for a student loan, and now I’ve discovered I am not eligible for study allowance, newstart allowance, parenting payment, state housing should I ever need it and disabiity allowance should I ever need it. I am currently getting $440 a fortnight from Centrelink, working casual (so if no work then no pay) and currenly haven’t yet received any child support). Due to the 2001 law change I’m classed as a temporary visitor, and to apply for permanent residency takes a hideous amount of time and costs about $3000. If you are lucky enough to gain permanent residency you then have to wait another 12 months before applying for citizenship. I think I am getting the message I’m not welcome in this country, but returning to NZ without my kids is not an option either. If anyone out there has any ideas for me to get out of here I love to hear them. Thanks

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  10. Im reading your posts with interest. I left my ex partner and my younger son and moved to the UK with my elder son as I could no longer tolerate my ex and wanted to have a life with a career. It was a hard thing to do and I was punished thoroughly by my ex as he made contact with my youngest son almost impossible for about 4 years until I eventually contacted the hague commision. Solicitors for the Hague in London were fantastic yet those in NZ which represented the commission were less so with one advising my ex to involve interpol in case I came and stole my son away…ridiculous and paranoid behaviour given that I had a fantastic career and lifestyle in London and was trying to have access with my son through the right channels. He was never sanctioned for breaking the agreement to provide opportunities for access. Through the courts and with the help of a barrister in Christchurch I eventually got my son over for access visits for a month at a time and by the time he was 11 he was able to come for a 6 month trial which he greatly enjoyed. It is only after the 6 months is up that the child then reverts to the other country’s jurisdiction and the counsel for child (or should I say my exs free lawyer) made sure my son was brought back to New Zealand and made a permanent order immediately that he was not to leave again …I have decided to no longer fight….the NZ family courts appear to have an agenda and allow their counsel for child to run the show…I cherish the 6 months I have had with my son but I think its NZ for him with its substandard education and lack of opportunities. My ex has already made it very difficult to have phone access again and I doubt the courts will do anything about it. I no longer waste money on lawyers and just tell my son to make his own decisions…this had the most impact….as far as you who are still in NZ…I had no idea as I thought my case was very isolated…I wish you all the best and encourage you to allow your children to present their own wishes to the courts after the age of about 9. Try to start off with holidays home and build from there if you can.

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    • Oh my love, my heart goes out to you. Although I haven’t left my child in NZ, I have at times, seriously thought about it, leaving my beloved baby and going home to the UK for my home and financial security and my lovely family (of course you do when put in this position).It’s such a heart breaking position to be in and I totally understand you. I actually almost decided that I would leave without my child as I was so miserable in NZ. In New Zealand they seem perfectly happy to lt you go, knowing that a child will be without their mother. Oh but how reluctant they are to have a child face life without their father. OK, I know it’s a controversial subject. My my life long belief is that children, particularly in their first 5 years need mum more than dad, I do believes it’s a fundamental biological need (unless mum is crazy bananas or severely handicapped in some way) It is, I believe that NZ is so overly politically correct that they give presdence to the father over the mother because father rights movements have been so active in NZ for the last 5 years. Had your situation happened pre 2005 you probably would have been able to take your baby boy home to the UK. I often wonder, what will these children think when they are old enough to understand? Strangeley enough as I child I was in a similar sort or arrangement with my father having custody of me in the UK . I wish I had been under my mother’s primary care to this day (and I’m 34 now). I feel resentful to the courts of the 1970’s. I never imagined history repeating itself. I actually have a stronger relationship as an adult with my mum, who I love dearly, for all she went through, than my father. My father would often alienate me against my mother which I didn’t realise until I was a later teenager. Which is scary, because as a child you always trust and believe your parent. One day your son will come back to you with a stronger and different bond. I don’t blame my mother at all, I sympathise with her and we are on the same page. Plus and can moan about my dad and she totally gets it! I still speak to dad, but I can completely understand why mu mum left him. My mum is independent and strong. Do’;t you worry, your younger son will see that too one day xxx

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    • I really want to get in touch with you as I’ve made the same hard decision about living in the UK and my child being returned to live in NZ with her father. It’s be great to talk to someone who has been through it

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      • hi hmfalco,

        I am considering going back to Australia without my son and leaving him here with his Dad and his Dad’s parents, as I am just so miserable here. I really don’t know what to do. My son turns 5 in April. I would feel more a little less distressed about leaving if he was closer to high school age but by that stage I will be 40. NZ is definitely not the land of opportunity.

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  11. According to http://www.missingpersons.gov Child Abduction Report, “New Zealand consistently has the highest incidence of abduction and access applications.”

    Until 2001, most abductions were into New Zealand. Then the tide changed, and now more abductions are out of New Zealand. Most of the abductions to New Zealand were “from” Australia.

    Read “Janie’s” story in comments below this piece. I know a few cases like this. She is actually not alone at all.
    http://www.hugurkids.com/abduction-media/parents-now-more-likely-to-flee-with-kids-2.html?Itemid=64

    “Promised a good life” – yea right.
    Reply to Donna Richards
    Donna this may be a late reply, but you need to look at all facts before making such obviously uninformed comments.
    I came to NZ in 2000 after finding out that my husband who has both dual citezenship in NZ and the UK, that he had never applied for residency for myself and two older boys from my previous marriage. A month after getting here, he dumped us all, stating he no longer loved me, put a caps order on our son we had together in Scotland, thus I could have been kicked out of the country with my older boys, whilst my youngest kept against his will here in NZ, by what I found out was a Meth addict. I was also soon to find out that he had left my country under a very large cloud of debt. He stole my passports and entered the internal affairs office makign our son a citizen by decent, though he didn’t even need my passport to do this. I logged this with the police as I knew he had stolen my passport, and that of my middle son…Not his own! he denied this, but now internal affairs has it logged that he indeed did have my passports!
    You talk of morals and rights, but where were my rights? I married a man who promised me a good life in NZ, and it has been 8 years of hell, worst thing was I paid for us all to move here. Family have died whilst being held here, and I couldn’t go home to bury my poor father as I didn’t have residency status, and would not have been allowed back in.
    I have now decided to take this man on as before I had a nervous breakdown because of his abuse of me and my children, ad I intend to let the NZ, and British media know exactly what has happened to us.
    Please remember that some of us deserve to take our children home, and whiilst I did not have the fight then, I do now, and I will make it known so that no other woman or man has ths happen to them, and that certain countries are almost fanatical when it comes to family law.
    I have even stated that he himself is able to return to Britain with our child, so he can be with him, but he has such fear after what he did to us, that he is utterly determined to ruin any chance our little boy has of having a good life with a family that ruly love him.
    NZ has not been kind to myself or my children, and they would be better cared for in the UK, with family that actually care what happens to my little boy.
    Don’t beat us in the know ith your maorals, silly woman, know the facts before you spout utter crap about something you obvosly know nothing about.
    Janie

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    • My ex stole my child’s passport (foreign nationality, not his own) and would not give it back. I tried to report it stolen to the police, but they said that either of a child’s parents had the right to have the child’s passport. The way in which he got it was not important to them. So watch out. Keep your child’s foreign passport in a safe place, and do not give it to the other parent under any pretext at all, regardless of why he is asking for it. Hold that passport. If he needs it for some purpose, go to the place where he needs it and present it yourself, then put it back somewhere safe, but keep it in your own possession. Make notarised copies if that will be accepted instead of an original. It is unlikely that if you did report it stolen, that the ex would put his signature on the application for a new one. Do not let that passport out of your hands, and put it somewhere hidden and safe.

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    • This story breaks my heart, as it is SO similar to my own! I had 2 weeks to leave NZ before a forced bankruptcy was to be declared on me. I had return tickets to SA for my 3 kids and I, only to find a caps / Interpol blocking on their 3 passports. I had to leave either way, for the land of milk n honey seizes your passports and you are unable to travel for 7 years out of NZ if you are bankrupt! Furthermore, I would not have been able to obtain more credit which had become the only means of survival for a single mum of 3 kids; with expenses in NZ for a home AND a farm I no longer lived on; AS WELL AS a mortgage for a house in SA!! My weekly expenses were in excess of $900, and only received $620 on the DPB. Couldn’t work cos the cost of daycare per hour for 3 kids was more than what I could earn per hour. Sold everything I could to keep up paying for the mortgage in SA and finally went bankrupt. Very few understood. Most believed I “could’ve done something different at some point”

      Nobody will understand your situation, except the handful of us who have been through anything similar. I flew off without my 3 babies. Truth be told he planned it all that way-from the time I had filed for a divorce 6 years earlier and we were sent for 6 relationship counselling sessions by the Family Court. He threatened back then that the day I left him he would start ruining me. Let’s just say I’m living out his master plan one gut-wrenching day without my children at a time!

      Keep strong. Be positive. Put 1 foot in front of the other regardless of how it gets there. Pray, eat and breathe deeply. A lot. Everything indeed happens for a reason and I’ve found out the hard way that no matter how hard you work at it, some things are simply not meant to be. I crudely “use” my situation now to make others feel like their own situations are not half bad. There are many sociopaths and psychopaths out there who get away with the demented thoughts which are actually real to them. I’m determined to get some kinda “policing for the mentally unstable” in place before my life ends. I read a scholarly article recently about how every single one of us does the BEST we can at any given moment, given our finite knowledge and circumstances. It’s true. And it’s what we have to use to keep strong! Just tough to reconcile that these alienators actually believe that they are doing right by the innocent children they are brainwashing.

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  12. “Feeling very much the foreigner”. I know one local woman who was in a divorce case a few years ago. She was 1st generation Kiwi but had a distinctly ethnic (Eastern European) name. Her husband’s family was Anglo, of an older family, with a conventional Kiwi Anglo-Scots name. She said (in her 100% pure Kiwi accent) that she had been given the “foreigner treatment” in court. Her husband and the husband’s counsel knew exactly what to say to encourage this treatment. How many generations do you have to live here to not be a foreigner and be given the “treatment”? Or is it better to just change your name?

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  13. These cases make me very sad as i am a loyal kiwi. But unfortunately my husband and i have also been involved in false allegations from my husbands ex so that she could gain custody of their daughter. Women like this have only made the mens right more active hence the problems with removing children from our country. We now have full day to day care with every 2nd weekend to the mum. We tried everything to make her have more contact but she would drag us through court to deny this and put us and her daughter smack in the middle of awful untruths.
    She is now relocating to Australia…my fear is that she will remove my step daughter from the country and we do not have the finances to chase her up. My thoughts are with those who are stuck here in my “awful, horrible , poverty stricken, backwoods country” Must be terrible to walk along the beach uninterrupted and look at the clear water and make sandcastles 😉
    from unedumicated kiwi

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    • With all due respect and as a fellow Kiwi-you can build sandcastles on the universe’s most beautiful beaches, but if you are forced to do that without your children, it is utterly meaningless!!! It’s sad that you trivialize something so heart-breaking, just to defend NZ!

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  14. Her “false allegations” can’t have been that effective – she only spends every other weekend with the child she gave birth to. Or would you deny her that too?

    One woman’s false allegations can be another woman’s hard truths. Perhaps you don’t like seeing your son from the perspective of someone who’s lived with him for a while.

    They have beaches and sand in Australia, and there are flights between the two countries.

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  15. You didn’t read my post very clearly. We gave her as much contact as we could. Because we know how important it is to have both parents in her life.
    Though i refused to pay for travel costs for her as she was the one that moved away. As i have a house and 2 of my own children to provide for i couldn’t afford the costs.
    In the end she couldn’t be bothered seeing her child so often, which meant the girl thought her mum didn’t love her..
    The mum resorted to lies to try get the court to relocate the child closer to her.
    There were 3 different stories so the court, police and cyfs gave the child back to us. shes been in our care for 6 years now and doing fine,
    Im saying that the family court has finally cottoned on to the fact there are deceitful people out there and they have to make the best judgements they can on the evidence given. I am not accusing anyone here of doing that im just saying food for thought for the courts.
    Have many male friends who have spent their life savings to fight for their kids in court being accused of all sorts of soul destroying stuff. When all could have been done amicably and the children not put through interrogations from lawyers time and time again.
    Though i disagree with giving a child to a father on the benefit just because he has more time to be able to spend with a child. Its not time but quality time that counts. i can’t comment on whether other countries are better to bring up children as im sure anywhere you go “may” have the same problems as New Zealand. As you love your country ..so do i…
    I wish you all the best Kia kite 😉

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    • fathers make ridiculous accusations too. I got the brunt of them. No proof offered. Just charges, and no proof was asked for. I had proof of all my charges. photos, police reports. I was utterly truthful and conservative. it did not matter in the end. some of the father’s accusations were quite wild, with the father’s rellies backing it up because blood’s thicker than water. both genders say whatever they can to win. it’s a shame for the kid’s sake.

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  16. This comes into it in New Zealand to a large degree with the clique mentality here

    the local who can use all his or her connections to do well and the foreigner who hates it, does not settle, wants to leave for that reason, and find they cannot due to the law favouring the party who can exploit the status quo

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/splits-harder-for-families-not-from-act/2332742.aspx

    Family law review in the UK recently deplored the amount of time it was taking for families to move through the court there. They should try it in New Zealand – much worse.

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  17. My story is just unfolding and a little different. I am a kiwi mum, with two children who also have a kiwi Dad. My new partner of nearly 3 years has just had to move to Australia for work (he is highly educated and could not get a relevant job here in NZ) and had to leave me and the kids behind because of the inevitable difficulty in me being able to take the children with me (they are well under 16).

    I have not yet embarked on any journey to try and get out of NZ with the kids, as I know it is going to be a long and possibly fruitless effort. I have briefly consulted my lawyer but was told the usual story, and that I would probably not win in court. I have not yet even raised the issue with their father, as I know he will shut me down straight away – previous experience and his controlling nature make this an obvious reaction. I am devastated and very depressed. I just want to move on with life with my children and long to be with my partner overseas and at the moment feel like even though I left my ex, he still has control of me and my life.

    I appreciate that the father has a right to a relationship with his kids and they obviously love their Dad but they have their problems with him and some of his parenting methods are less than dubious. I have recently been through a court process to gain further day to day care, which was eventually granted after mediation and the children being consulted. However, the kids still see their Dad 5 days out of 14 which is apparently one day shy of me having main control in the family court’s eyes. He and his lawyer rallied hard for this extra day – which I wish had not been granted.

    I just want to know if there are other kiwi mums out there in my position too? I have family in Australia additional to my partner being there and I want to be closer to them and let my kids experience sharing life with them too. The children’s father’s family has had the benefit of access to the children up until this point and never taken great proactive or nurturing advantage of it. They are at times quite a passive negative influence on the children’s lives and the children don’t feel a close emotional bond with them. I would be willing to fly my kids back or even fly their father over as often as I could but just feel like things are not ever going to be in my favour and that the kids Dad will never be reasonable about coming to a solution.

    So as others have said, it is either I leave my kids with their Dad and go by myself, or I stay here and be miserable while the life I long for goes on without me – and as a mother I could never leave my kids.

    I would really appreciate hearing from others in my position as I gather the confidence to try and fight for a brighter future.

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    • Your only hope of trying to relocate through the courts will be if you provide them with definite times of year, dates, days, etc when the children can have physical contact with their dad. As good mums we always say that they are welcome to have as much contact with their dad as possible; we will fly them back and forth as often as we can; etc. The courts look for a definite plan though. Sadly it sounds like your ex will not be reasonable about things and will dig his heels in even more if he knows that you have the chance at happiness. It is a dreadful position to be in, and also beware that most lawyers run a mile at the mention of relocation even WITHIN NZ, let alone overseas! I wish you the best…

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  18. There’s a Kiwi woman in my town in a similar position. The father of this one is rarely even in the country, though he owns a home there, and I do not understand why they will not permit her to move on and make a better life for the child. I don’t think that New Zealand courts are unique in their current thinking that the mere presence of a father, of any sort, as long as he is a male and somewhat involved in the child’s life and not a complete reprobate, is some kind of instant ticket to the child’s permanent emotional well-being. We have the same situation of the NZ grandparents being not very child-centred and having more “emotionally available and age-appropriate” family in the other country. The courts seem to be ignoring things such as the country’s economy, educational, job and housing opportunities, the character of the local area (low-decile, crime-ridden or earthquake zone, etc.), the child’s possibly foreign heritage being somehow less important than the Kiwi heritage, entrenched conflict or poor communication between the parents, abuse or substance history, mother’s well-being, other factors, and focusing exclusively on father involvement in a very narrow perspective.

    I doubt you will be permitted to leave. Your boyfriend will have to move back to NZ and drive a taxi, or you’ll have to leave without the children, or he’ll have to wait until your youngest is 16, probably. There is a genuine blindfold about the conditions that make New Zealand a difficult place to live, compared to others, and a basic assumption that any father at all, even if a less effective or functional parent than the mother, is better than none and therefore counterbalances an entire host of other factors that would weigh against forcing a family to stay in an unhappy place for years on end.

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  19. Thank you for your response, it is comforting to know that there are like minded people out there who relate to my frustration with the system. Who knows where things will end up for me and my children, but I am going to do my best as their mum in the meantime and face the challenges head on. I have to believe that eventually things will come good for me, and that I will be able to move on to the future I want for me and my children. The NZ Family Court system may eventually have to sit up and take notice of those of us in this situation if our voices continue to grow louder.

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  20. Frankly I don’t think they care. They see themselves as a vanguard of children’s rights but all they are doing by taking a virtuous “children’s rights stance” is giving especially cunning lawyers an easy template for drawing a “picture” of their client (and the other parent) that they want that judge to interpret in that perspective . One problem with the system is that they have no time and no resources. And the judges seem to be kind of naive about how cases are “crafted” (and some of the local dynamics or interpersonal relationships between professionals, as well) and do not reflect the child’s actual emotional reality. And to what extent a good lawyer affects the reporting of the situation. They’re also not very familiar with foreign cultures and have all the attitudes that are typical for here, which is the culture you’re playing this out in. So whichever parent can present a better “nativist care of children morality tale” or market himself better in the tiny time slot you have to make your case in, is the parent who gets his way. In your case, for instance, it would be very easy for the father to come out and play to all the stereotypes about “money grubbing mum running away with HIS children to her foreign boyfriend” You know that is what he would do..It doesn’t matter if he ignores them most of the time and might do the odd outdoor fun thing with them. If he can do a fun outdoor thing 3x a year and document it well enough, he can represent that as the whole of his life with them, because the court doesn’t know any different. The court can’t review a couple years’ worth of 24-hour videocam showing all the invisible hard yakka YOU put in with your kid that the father can never be stuffed doing, but would cumulatively make a huge difference in the life of that child if he or she were not able to benefit from it any longer. Nor can you “criticise fathers”. It just hurts the way YOU are perceived, for being “negative” – even if the father has problems that affect his functioning as a parent, or competing interests that constantly take time away from his parenting. It’s just a pile of dumb stunts, all of it. Mine for instance asks my son to give me calls in the middle of their meals or while he is playing a game so that he “seems reluctant” to call the mother or associates mother-calls with annoying interruption. Stunt. It is all a huge, ridiculous game I have enormous distaste for. And in the end, the stress and the time and resources taken away from parenting the children seems not to be worth any outcome. I could say “just don’t get caught in that situation in the first place” but who among us thinks they’ll end up this way?

    There is this idea that this is a “family friendly” place where you go to escape the problems of the rest of the world. But people experience hard times here. I’s a country that won’t look at the way people are having to live – and the way people are having to leave. Surely there are reasons to have a rethink, all the more so when for time immemorial our ancestors have migrated to better lives, and made themselves and the world stronger for so doing.

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  21. Hi there. I read all your comments with great interest. i sympathise with you all, I really do.

    I’m writing a book about our blended family’s attempts to relocate from one of the poorest areas of New Zealalnd to the capital city Wellington for work purposes. Its being written as a black comedy otherwise I’d be throwing myself off the nearest cliff.

    I woud like however to hear of your stories which I would like to use as other examples. Or if I have to disguise it as fiction ( already been warned off by one lawyer!) develop some stories based on actual events.

    I’d love to hear from you. take care Denise

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    • Hi Denise,
      I know the feeling, I am gathering research at present based in New Zealand, UK, and Australia on the abuses of the Hauge, and the abuses in the legal system, and the family voilence issued based on the emotional and mental side of things. I have had to change names but have followed the facts in the cases, and the foreword reads all names and places have been changed to protect the guilty, if by chance an indivduals thinks that the story is about them the author and publisher suggests it is one’s own gulity Conscious, and refutes that that individual is involved in any of the stories within this book.
      One has to see the black comedy in these situations, it is to Depressing otherwise to believe that in this day and age that this clear blunt discrimination is happening

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  22. Have any of you posting on this thread read about the Azzaoui case? Guess he became fed up with life in “Godzone” and used subterfuge to try and keep the children in Algeria. Not blissed out in Kaikohe? Can’t imagine why. Someone probably told him that he would never be able to take them out of here, with the court system here. If they were born and raised in New Zealand, he should ideally have no case, but smart of him to detain them in Algeria just long enough to snatch jurisdiction. I feel bad for the mum, but funny in the papers there’s no sympathy for the parents stuck herein EnZed or the victims of Kiwi parents who played their cards to snatch jurisdiction. Just the “Kiwi” children taken to Algeria and Turkey.

    “(the consul) was reportedly involved in a tense stand-off over three children and sat on the floor refusing to leave the property “without my citizens”.”

    Can you imagine anyone from a non-Kiwi consulate going to those lengths to help some of us out? A stake-out in New Zealand, to have their citizens returned to their place of birth? Kiwi parent seizes passport and won’t return it, consulate steps forward to help? Noooooo, not mine anyway. Can’t imagine that level of care on the part of the UK, Canadian or U.S. embassies.

    No sympathy in the NZ press either for the things we have had done to us by Kiwis, to trap us here in New Zealand. They consider that New Zealand is okay to be stranded in, because any children Kiwi or half-Kiwi evidently belong here in New Zealand, and the non-Kiwi parent has to suck it up because this, as one person told me, is “the place to be”? Let some half-Kiwi kid be taken somewhere else though to the evil outer world, and they’re all up in arms about it. Typical hypocrisy.

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    • Hi angryparent, we’ve mentioned the Mohamed Azzaoui case in comparison to that of the Maddison family.

      In the Maddison case the family left New Zealand to for the mother’s home country of Denmark, for medical treatment for the child that was unavailable in New Zealand.

      Read more: Kiwi Dad Wants His Kid Back, Let’s Hear From Mum

      After a period of time the father returned to New Zealand, leaving his wife and child behind. The mother decided not to return to New Zealand and there is now a custody battle over their 4 year old daughter who has been in Denmark since she was a toddler.

      Most of the publicity around this emanates from New Zealand’s and the father’s point of view. Accusations of kidnapping and child abduction are being made, but as far as we can tell, the child is lawfully in Denmark and the mother has every right to keep her there.

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  23. In the Algerian case, it is a matter of the father being entitled under Muslim law (had the Kiwi mum become a Muslim too? It probably does not matter as long as they are over there on his turf and he himself is Muslim) and the two countries have different parental rights systems, whereas in the Denmark case, if indeed the mother had planned it at all (and we do not know this, but being familiar with the excruciating courts here I would not be surprised), the mother played a quieter longer-term game, obtaining jurisdiction the legal way and not letting on that she was unhappy. Unless he can prove she was forum shopping, she has won the game fair and square, to the great benefit of her child, who is much better off in Denmark with or without her medical condition.

    It is my opinion that both parents were unhappy living in New Zealand, as many migrants are (how many migrants never find any of these sites about the realities of living here, but hate it nontheless? I can tell you that people who read and comment on these sites are the tip of an iceberg), and managed to find a way to beat the system. But I could be wrong, and the Danish mother would be foolish to admit she had been forum shopping anyway.

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  24. Hello to all,
    This unfortunately is not just a New Zealand base problem, I have two friend in the UK which are stuck in the same position, and 4 in Australia. Australia I note do not give any benefits at all to New Zealand women trapped under the system awaiting court, and generally you don’t get reallocation either. If your luck you may get legal aid. It brings in the problems with the hauge as well in this situation. I had a friend in that position no roof over her head, no money, and the New Zealand Goverment did nothing, and is doing nothing to help these women because they arent fighting hauge cases, regardless that they have had passport blocks against them. In fact when they were written to many different MPs they were so out of touch of the actual facts of what these women go through it was crazy. Then they wonder why these women, back their backs to get well qualified and immigrate to the UK, Canada etc.
    There are so many different issues that make this a matrix of problems that cannot be tarred by just one brush, all cases need to be access on the facts of that case not this one size fits all approach which is present. There needs to be a balance found not a swing one way to another. There needs to be a change world-wide in regards to reallocation, and on a case by case base.
    I personally was a foreign Women, in a foreign country when my Ex decided to walk out, and start his fourth family….(within 12 years). He cut the lease after threatening to do so, knowing that I was unable to get any help by the system, and that being a foreigner I wouldn’t get the lease. (Note the Justice system did not see this as abuse, or domestic violence.)
    My 10 month old baby and I were thrown out onto the street to sleep in the gutter, and no mnoey to buy food. I didn’t receive legal aid even tho, I was not working and he did with an annual income of $80,000. At the same time of this happening he expressed to all our friends that ‘I had run of with our child’.
    Passport blocks were put in place and we were trapped for almost a year in a foreign country, with no support, fighting a legal base uphill, fighting to survive. I have a $200,000 legal debt at the end of it but we did return home, after my ex refused to mediate and push right through to a court hearing on the tax payer’s purse. What my Ex bizarrely couldn’t understand that he was actually doing this to his child as well. He was unable to think actually of the child and put the child’s needs first. This was before I started studying and understood the Narcistic-sociopath (PDs) personality disorders, which are on the rise.
    He then breached the court order within a week, which allowed myself and my child to return home, due the self executing order in place, he didn’t want to pay a parenting payment, and so the court orders were breached.
    Once your child turns 16 their have the choice to move.
    On a final note
    ‘Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark’. ~Rabindranath Tagore
    Keep faith things will change,
    There is a need for it to change, in regards to England based Law when family courts are regarded, for the generations of daughter’s to come will judge our system and generation harshly from the history.
    There is a ground movement, present of unrest in many different countries because of this clear discrimination of the parent with the main custody, and the abuse.
    The question is, How do we all make a stand and say enough in one voice?
    Will many voices be heard? Or will it be dismissed because at least 80% will be women?

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  25. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10795699
    In the Kiwi press, TYPICAL, you only see left-behind Kiwis whose wives or husbands ran off screaming with the children. Not trapped foreign parents in New Zealand. What do they think life is like for us, chained to a life we don’t want here on their godforsaken islands? So many of us come from countries that are nicer places to live, and we have no support system here. Often the Kiwi partner has worked the system to the native’s advantage and we did not even receive a fair go in court. The stories of poor stranded foreign parents I have heard that will never see the light of day. But high-profile “poor Kiwi” cases sell papers, don’t they.

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  26. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, I’m currently in England, on a month visit, the first since I have left, nearly a decade, and my wife has used the opportunity to ‘do the runner’ I revived a distressed call from her unfortunately, vindictive and manipulative mother, saying that she needed help and had broken down, that she was deeply concerned for my children’s safety, and she thought it best to go and get them, my wife was apparently leaving the kids with the child youth services, and my mother in law wanted me to give permission for her to take them back to Australia, to which reluctantly, and being that there was no contact with my wife, agreed should they be in danger.
    After flying out immediately she then initiated a conversation that was nothing to do with their safety, and was about how they where all off to Oz. I tried everything possible to keep her there, and our last conversation was a reluctant ok then whatever, I’ve got to go now.
    I am desperately trying to get my flight reorganized, so I can return early, I’ve only been gone a week. I’m sat here in the UK and I feel so helpless, I don’t know what I can do. I can’t take this agony. I was on a mutually decided trip to visit my home country where I left family after the passing of my father. Her argument began when I did not contact her for a few hours, she spiraled out of control, and I was barraged with abuse on the day I was attending my fathers gravesite for the very first time. Her mother is telling her she’s psychophrenic, and she’s made a feeble attempt at apologizing, whilst maintaining it was all my fault for not checking in for a few hours, bearing in mind the 12 hour time difference. Her mother will now be convicing her how much if an evil man I am, especially after laying the fault that she flew there on me.
    I don’t want to get lawyers involved, I have the most amazing children, and I just want her to be there for them, I am panicking now, and rambling, oh god

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  27. I’ve been through the family court wringer in New Zealand applying to relocate with my daughter back to the UK. I went to hell and back and then some.
    I understand how awful it is, especially when you are alone and a million miles from home and support when you need it most.
    I felt, and I believe many other share the same experience, that the courts immediately put you on the back foot for wishing to relocate and change your child’s status quo. However I believe my reasons were very reasonable- I simply wished my daughter to have a better life as I think most parents naturally do. I wanted to move back home to the UK for familiarity, family, friends, support network, better job opportunities, more affordable living and better financial security to offer my child. The courts used all sorts of things against me, and glossed over the father’s negative points (they there were some major concerns, such as pot smoking, being abusive, and being work shy) supporting their own citizens. I looked bad in the courts eyes for evening mentioning these things and I felt I’d have more chance of a successful relocation if I just shut up about that. New Zealand prefer the “friendly” approach to relocation. However you are damned form the beginning, eventually I realized that I would never be granted permission to relocate back to the UK with my daughter. I clearly stated that I did not at all want to cut out my daughter’s father from her life. Quite the opposite, I wouldn’t have moved to NZ in the first place if I didn’t want my daughter to have a father. I generously offered him 4 holidays per year in NZ and UK and a computer and internet service to keep in regular touch and I would foot the bill for all of that. It’s not ideal, but when 2 parents are from different countries it’s the best solution I could come up with. The father said no, that he will have our daughter full time and I can come and visit her. I am not a bad person at all, I’m a normal regular mummy. I would understand it if I had some terrible flaw, like being on heroin or something like that, but I’m not like that at all!
    My daughter was born in the UK and I was never married to her father. We were together for a year and a half while we both lived in the UK. We moved to NZ when our daughter was 6 months old. I knew early on I wasn’t happy in NZ, and there was none of the father’s family nearby either, they all live 6 hours drive away. I was feeling isolated and depressed, with little work opportunity. I have previously had a lucrative career in the UK and my aim was to replicate that in NZ, but unfortunately after exhausting every avenue it was not happening. My ex asked me to give it another year, which I did. So by the time I had completely made up my mind to return home to the UK we had been living there for 2 years. At the point of applying for relocation I thought “2 years, whoop-de-do”, the courts can clearly see that we’ve never settled here? No, they didn’t!
    I spent 2 years going through an agonising and expensive court process, enduring further abuse from the father and felt like I was living in hell. I was advised by my lawyer that to apply for a protection order in NZ would put me out of the running for relocation as the judges view that as a barrier to relocation, so I had no choice but to suffer on thinking of the long term goal, to get back home. I bent over backwards to be nice to the father, to try and make things as comfortable as possible, but things got worse and worse.
    By the end of 2 years fighting twice in the courts for relocation, it was clear that the courts were not in support of my daughter relocating back to the UK anyway!
    I was ill, skinny, messed up, a shell of my former self. I was permanently run down. I knew I couldn’t take any more. I felt like I was going to die within a year. That is no way to be a good parent to your child, my child was suffering because of my anguish. And I felt the awful conflict between my and the dad would never cease, it would only get worse. That’s no good for a child to see. Such a contrast to the happy day she was born and my excited hopes for her future, ones that I thought her dad shared too.
    I returned to the UK with my child end of 2011, my father was ill and consequently died. Despite this I started to feel happier, being back home and feeling for the first time in years safe. I could see an attainable future again. My daughter was also the happiest she’d been in years and we maintain regular phone and skype contact with her dad. In NZ it was living in permanent limbo, and having to run every life decision past the father, you lose your human right to autonomy in so many ways, and an abusive man uses the courts to gain more control. I knew that I couldn’t return to NZ in my heart and health. Her father applied through the Hague convention to have our daughter returned to NZ and was successful. All those clauses in the Hague convention (clause 13 b regarding grave risk of harm to the child) mean nothing. No matter how depressed I had been feeling in NZ and the knock on effect that had on my daughter the fact that we’d had shared care and he was willing to have her full time meant that was no defence. The abuse we’d suffered wasn’t bad enough, and they advised that NZ could sort out a protection order upon our return, they can’t do that before you leave. I have found out each country interprets 13 b differently, and even in very serious high end abuse, the Hague policy is to return the child to the other country and to get the social services of that other country to intervene. Who would want to live in the other country under a protection order when you can live in your home country and feel safe?
    Sadly I had to let my daughter go back with her dad recently. She is only just 5. She was ripped from my arms crying and screaming and saying quite clearly that she wanted to stay with me. Her father came to collect her.
    I am choosing to remain in the UK without her. To some that might seem terrible, as when you become a mum you stick by your kids through thick and thin, end of. I also feel like that. I am a good mum. But I view it as self preservation. I’d rather get myself strong, being home and happy and importantly alive for her when she is older and needs me. I just know I couldn’t carry on living lie that in NZ any more as I would be little use to her feeling the way I did. Or worse I would die. I really tried very very hard to make a life in NZ, but I just wasn’t big enough or strong enough to hack it.

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    • Hi all, I’ve written a book on my experiences of being held hostage here in New Zealand because the courts wont allow my 7 year old son to return back to the UK. I thought this was an isolated case until I read all of the above and below. Myself, two children and Ex husband are all British Citizen’s, yet the law here has the powder to stop me taking my child back to his country of citizenship, and where he was born.

      Reading all of the above, I’d like to include a chapter highlighting other parents in a similar position, and hopefully let the world know what can/does happen if you relocate to NZ with your children.

      If you agree, please can you respond to this email with your permission to use your stories. The Justice system here needs to be highlighted on its underhandedness and entrapment processes it uses.

      Thanks

      Amanda

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    • I hear your pain. I send you so much love and respect. Want you went through sounded so deeply painful. May love and light pour into you and your daughters lives and one day you be reunited to live in the natural state of closeness that has been denied you. Our world is patriarchal. Fathers are vile from my experience after separations. A matriarchal society would never allow the sick possessiveness of father’s such sway. Love and anger, strong female rage! X

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  28. A few friends are going through divorce cases here, and it is next to impossible to prove abuse. The attitudes here are that other countries “coddle” their children and in New Zealand they healthily “harden them up” or “man them up”.. Sometimes Kiwi parents get a surprise when they move to some other country and are hauled up on abuse charges. Example –

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10806640&ref=fbheadline

    Article on how bad life in Australia is for Kiwis. No dole, not services!

    “Immigrant’s bad experience””

    “A Kiwi father, who moved to Queensland after fleeing the Christchurch earthquake, is lashing out at his new city as too “politically correct” after being convicted for leaving his 9-year-old son unattended at a Brisbane shopping centre.”
    “The family had been in Queensland for just a few months after leaving Christchurch in search of “a safe place to raise children”.”

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    • In New Zealand it is against the law to leave a child under the age of 14 on their own.

      One way that Kiwi parents get round this is to send their kid alone on a long shopping errand, or on a long walk to a relative’s home.

      It is a well known fact that New Zealand has an appallingly high rate of preventable child deaths and child abuse, obviously the “harden them up” strategy is a miserable failure. The children who survive to adulthood go on to perpetuate the cycle of abuse and maltreatment.

      For more: http://www.safekids.org.nz/Downloads/Safekids%20News/SKNews_March2012_final_web_12March.pdf

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  29. I’m so sorry for everyone story and i can relay on them all, As my story is not far from different !
    I have been leaving in NZ for 7 years, But obviously fell in Love with a kiwi guy ( at 21 yo). everything went too fast, until i realised that he was a control freack alcoolic abusif man ! of course i left him a couple of time, and all time had to run away if i wanted to keep my furniture safe with me. i was living elsewhere i was ok happy of course alone, met a guy didnt last long so then decided it was time to go and travel again ! Of course i was silly enaugh to have one last time sex with my Ex. And happenned to get pregnant . So 2 months after that i was moving back with him, He was ok at the time, Caring bout the fact i was pregnant. Until i gave birth and then he was more than Violent and agressif, Drinking way to much going into my daughters bedroom when he was really drunk waking her up, And much worse stories. His mother told me to leave him, and i was scared to leave him and that he keep my daughter so of course i went to get legal help. Put a protection order on him … and left him . Of course we both fighted he denied all allegations , and refused my daughter to go on holidays to visit her family had to drop charges if i wanted to go, which i did I met another kiwi blog in main time. I got to go on holiday to my dads 50th birthday with my daughter, but the judge back then decided to drop protection order, and to give a week about share day to day care. Of course i told my ex to let me look after my sdaughter during his week, like that i could keep her woth the same routine, and he wont pay for anything to get her looked after. of course he made lots of things difficult during that time. Until i started to have doubt about the identity of My daughter real dad . And 2 months after that i asked my lawyer to ask for DNA test. when i talked to my lawyer about it, MY ex partner decide to take my daughter off my care during his week to put her in care with someone else. 3 weeks after that when my lawyer finally got the ok go from legal aid to have DNZ test money, he talk to my ex’s lawyer which this one got back to him with an DNA test results Saying he isnt the dad and he had the result already 3 weeks ago. I felt happy and sick in the same time, The only thing i wanted to do is to get my daughter back. I bnever liked letting her go to her but if i wasnt doing it i would be arrested for not letting her see that man. Now 5 months after all of that, MY Ex say he want to be legal gardian of my daughter, My actually partner and i are having a child in november, And my Daughter is saperated from me every second Week Because the judge is not even able to see whats best for my daughter. I can not go and visit my Family on holidays before giving birth as my daughter got a Capps listing on her, and the judge said it wasnt for hwr best interrest to go overseas to see her family ! . The judge seems to forgot why i left that man, Seems to forget he is not the father and that my actual partner is a better figure. My daughter always come back home saying bad words, With a different attitude, forgetting her manners, bitting, hitting, and most of the time with a cold or caught or flu ! it takes 3 days to be able to have my cute little daughter back to normal. I’ve got forbidden by the judge to tell my daughter who is her real dad, aswell as telling her that my ex is not her dad. now i have to go back to court at the end of august just for telling us what to do about the application for legal gardianship my ex made, and again my lawyer did told me that it will take until next year. My daughter is 3 and half years old. And i fear for her to be separated from her family ( me her sister and her step father ) every second week ! and how much more messed up she will be,. I cry every friday when i know i have to bring her to that man the day after. And even if he keep on breaking undertaking, parental order. nothing gets done. He keep on Texting me to harras me , he keep on calling when he is drunk in the middle of the night ! he keep on drinking when he has her ! and he lies about me to the court !
    i felt to start with that new zealand was home but since me and my daughter are not able to go on holidays to visit family and dying family members, i feel like i am in a prison.
    nothing is done for my daughters welfare and if i do something wrong i can get arrested …. and i am really thinking about keeping her with me and see what would happen!

    i know that man by heart and he qwill never stop until he get what he want, and at the moment he just want to hurt me ! and he is uusing my daughter for such matters !
    he sy he still wants to be a legal gardian and stay on the birth certificate , but he stopped paying child support the day he knew he wasnt the biological dad ( i precise i dont care about child support , i am paying him child support too )
    he stoppped me from seeing out of the sudden for 4 and half months during his week, Never tought about what is best for her !
    he stopped her from seeing her REAL family Blood to blood !
    he refuse her to know her other culture ! well since he is =nt the dad she only has one culture !
    i just dont know what to do. Me , my partner,my all fmaily, and all my firends are really not understanding why is that all happening !
    i never had tjhe chance to get listenned to ! and so that never left me any chance to be able to save my daughter from that man ! i feel useless !
    sorry for my english and my spelling i dont double check !

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  30. Thank you everybody for sharing your stories. My heart goes out to all of you who are in a difficult situation. I am not a mother my self so can only imagine the heart ache you are going through wanting to leave with your child/children but are not able to. I am just in the process of divorcing my husband. We do not have children, but the scenarios I have seen here on this blog, has been haunting me and I have been very scared of starting a family here as I have heard how difficult it can be should I wish to leave one day. As I am all ready now homesick, I come from Sweden, I have decided it is not worth the risk to start a family here.

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  31. Hi I’m Australian and long to return to friends, family, higher pay, better super, get away from the earthquakes and volcanoes, and look after my sick Mum. //My son is kiwi. His father is kiwi. My son’s father chose to leave us last year and I had to get my legs under me quickly. I immediately asked for permission to leave, he said no. I was stunned! I explained how my Mum is sick and my Father needs help looking after her. His reaction was to say I could fly over for visits. This is beyond my pay. //I’m so unhappy, keep waking up between 1.00 am and 4.00 am and feel poor with no prospects for improvement any time soon – despite a good education and upward career in Australia before our son’s birth. //If Mum goes into a home, I will have to pay in kiwi dollars which will reduce us to hand to mouth! I’ve calculated if I stay here I will probably have to retire here. Being a single Mum and recently returned to full time work at a lower level and studying for better income, life is hard. I’m worried about my finances, have no support and the pressures of raising our son and working full time/studying part time is exhausting. I wake at 5am just to squeeze study time in before work, so I can play with our son after work before cooking dinner. This sounds like a Monty Python sketch, but it’s one woman’s life stuck in NZ. In an effort to save money I’ve cut the car insurance to third party and completely cut contents. I don’t visit the doctor or the dentist and don’t drive the car much because petrol has gone up. I use holidays to give our son a break from holiday care (and my wallet a break from paying for holiday care) – this eats up most of my leave. Our son gets 12 weeks school holidays and a minimum of four teacher only days off each year. My annual leave is 4 weeks. My personality has flown south for winter but I suspect it’s returned to Australia permanently without me! //Reading all the stories above is plain depressing, which is layered on top of the depression and stresses already felt for being a single foreign Mum. The statistics for poverty levels in older women without a man could well make a Grimm Fairytale. Some go without heating to save electricity. //If I was to move to Australia it would be important to me for our son to stay in contact with his Dad. With skype and viber and the number of school holidays – this shouldn’t be a problem. //The diaspora in NZ is due to earthquakes, better pay outside NZ, broader career prospects, tightening kiwi job markets, etc etc. If a high percentage of the native population can see things aren’t flash here and voting with their feet, why do single foreign parents have to be stuck here?? It feels sub-human and third world. Last year I was suicidal; as my hope for a decent future and respite from the pressures of day to day living appeared as a mirage would in the heat of a desert. A very dear friend in Australia helped to herd me away from my thoughts of suicide. I am now soberly facing up to the brutal facts and the short, medium and long term effects of being stuck in NZ. //There seems to be a great number of us? Why don’t we start putting pressure on the politicians to change the laws? Why don’t we start an organisation called Stuck in NZ (SINZ). Why can’t we organise a network for support and solidarity? Why don’t some of us study to become Family Lawyers and then metamorphise into Family Court Judges? How can we empower ourselves to take positive action that will lead to positive results? Let’s shout out until our plights are understood and change is affected?

    Most of all let’s make NZ legislation change so that we can be good parents who revel in the caring years and the innocent child and the preciousness of childhood; as opposed to parents who count down the years and days until age 16; or contemplate returning to our home country without our children. Parenting is hard, single parenting is harder and foreign single parenting is hardest.

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    • I’m a New Zealander in exactly the same situation but stuck in Australia with a baby and no support what so ever!

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  32. All this I can completely relate to because I have done it and experienced it as well. Your remark “If a high percentage of the native population can see things aren’t flash here and voting with their feet, why do single foreign parents have to be stuck here?” I actually mentioned this in family court. That New Zealand is not an easy place to live in, that many Kiwis leave it, that it often has something to do with the parents breaking up in the first place, and surely this should be taken into objective account? It was not. I assume it did not go down well either, because our outcome was not a good one either. They prefer “stupid, simple solutions that purport to solve messy problems they can’t deal with” in New Zealand. Like buying something off an infomercial that is marketed in such a way as to seem to wave a magic wand over your life. An exercise machine that will make you beautiful or the like? Thus they seem to think that having a father physically present in a child’s life all the time, even a dysfunctional father or one who doesn’t pay that much attention to the child, is in and of itself magically enough to make up for a large group of negatives in the child’s life, such as the poverty trap of NZ – something that they prefer to put in the too hard box because it is too big, unflattering, and unsolvable.

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  33. Hi there,
    Just wondering if a support group or anything like that has been set up yet. I’m one of you and would love to get in touch. I moved here 18 months ago with my kiwi husband. Until then my (soon-to-be-ex-)husband and I have lived in Germany (I am German). Our daughter was born in New Zealand 14 months ago. We always said we would give it a try in New Zealand for 2 years and would then decide where we would live – unfortunately we did not do this in writing, I just trusted my husband that he meant it.
    I realized very early on that I don’t like it here. Yes, New Zealand is a great country but it is nothing like home. I voiced that opinion shortly after we arrived here which led to a big fall out between me and my (soon-to-be-ex-)in-laws. My husband and I separated four months ago and he has a new partner. Of course he has no intentions of moving back to Germany to be with his little daughter. He is enjoying his new life in New Zealand too much. I desperately want to go home. I’ve spent the last four months in waiting as my husband says he is still undecided if and when he would let me and our daughter go. The more time passes the less hope I have that he will choose in mine (and as I believe) our daughters favor. In my opinion he is just buying time. On top of that his new girlfriend might be infertile since she tried to get pregnant for years with her husband (yes, she is still married a swell) and I doubt he would let his daughter leave if there is no hope for him to have more children with his new girlfriend
    I know if I take it to court, my chances of winning are very slim – if not to say impossible. But I still have to try, right?
    I would love to get together with some of you to talk about experience, chances, crushed hopes and just sharing stories and emotions!!!!

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    • Sorry but there are no support groups that we are aware of. However you may wish to introduce yourself on Expatexposed.com/forum. You may find other parents with the similar dilemmas.

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  34. Reading all of your posts makes me realise our situation looks bleak. My son (kiwi) has been offered work in Perth, he currently has guardianship of his 5yr old daughter. He contacted the mother(also kiwi) to let her know and she said that he can only take her if he moves to Brisbane, she lives in nz but has a sister there. She has another child to another person in her care. The reason my son got care was because the mother could not provide a safe environment for her. She has a criminal record as well as a cyps record, of which my son has neither. She has contact in the school holidays, although can phone, skype etc whenever she wants, which she never does unless my son rings her. He phoned his lawyer and was told that the mother must agree for him to take his child with him, and if she doesnt, then I (nana) can apply for guardianship. However if he goes the mother can come pick up the child, regardless. He was hoping to go over and get settled before taking his child over at christmas as she wants to finish her school year off.
    Now he doesnt know what to do. He wants to provide a better life for his child yet the mother whom is on a benefit and has no intentions of looking for work can dictate what he does, how can that be FAIR.
    Unless he stays here goes on the benefit like her and does nothing, Im sure the government would like that.
    How can he better his life and his daughter’s when the mother has the right to keep dragging him back into the gutter the she lives in.
    All she wants her daughter for is to get money off my son.

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  35. I hope when you read this that you are both home in the uk. I lived in NZ a few years ago with my husband – he’s a kiwi. My oldest son was born there and I will never be able to thank them all for that they did. However I would never live there again by choice. We can all do scenery! What I want is to be able to buy whatever I want in a shop.

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  36. Rebekah :
    ok i am kiwi my ex is kiwi but my fiance is americain and i want to relocate there. i have no parenting order in place i allow the father supervised visits as he is wasted most of the time and i want to keep my child away from that for as long as possible. he has said he wont let me leave the country or even the area. he will not even let me relocate in New Zealand. i am just about to start the first part of court processes, firstly a protection order as he is abusive. i would very much like to talk with some of you and be part of a support group. i am not happy here and i do think my baby needs a father figure but i dont think that has to be the biological father as up until now he has had stuff all contact and not wanted it. but he sees baby at f ‘fun stage now’ so wants to take him to his drug filled home. i hope and prey the courts wont allow him to be able to take him home. it will be very damanging to my childs developement.

    They do not give a ratz about parent’s or a boyfriend girlfriend’s drugged-out lifestyles in New Zealand, and you will not be permitted to relocate, even if the father is in jail, has a criminal record, or is actively abusing drugs currently. and exposing the child to it. I have been through this. They do not care. Or alcohol. What these dropkicks have to do to lose their “rights” in New Zealand, I do not know. Mass murder, maybe? Probably not even that.

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  37. Does anyone know the statistics within the courts, I mean has anyone ever won their case when going through the courts to leave New Zealand with their kids

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    • Kiwi sent back to australia, kiwi father who has access, gets equal rights the Hague Convention, does nothing to protect from abuse when its not physical

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    • Hello ..I have read and re read this site>>>>in1998 through the Christchurch family courts I got my 8 year old son back..and flee back to Uk..it took Barristers in NZ and UK and every penny I had..I had to come back on a “care and Protection order ” when I arrived in UK..social services told me to go away NOBODY in uk could understand what or why this had happened ..It has had profound affects onmyson and myself..ever since ….

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  38. Wow, these stories are heart breaking – but believe me there is hope! I have heard many success stories with similar circumstances. Keep persevering and wear a beautiful smile, no matter what is thrown at you !!

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  39. I am a Kiwi male with a Japanese ex. Two boys, eldest born in Japan, youngest born in NZ. Lived in NZ from 2000 – 2007, In 2007 we moved back to Japan, on the understanding it was for 3 years maximum (I previously had lived there for 12 years, 10 with my ex). Relationship broke down, divorced, agreement made for minimum weekly Skype call, and minimum 6 weeks unfettered custody of children per year. Have been paying full child support since day one of separation.

    I left Japan in 2010 (business reasons). I have never received any custody, never received consecutive weekly phone calls (at times has been up to 2 months between calls), have made 9 trips to Japan in the last (almost) 3 years to maintain contact. Ex has threatened to take them away and hide them when I notify her of a trip to see boys, although she hasn’t actually done it. Ex refuses to support financially any of my travel costs. Japanese courts refuse to recognise any of my parental rights, just my obligation to pay in yen. Boys haven’t seen their Kiwi family and friends since 2010. Now when I call, if mother is out all cool, we chat and have a good time.

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  40. Do you guys think this is just New Zealand???? Live around the world and you will see its the same in most countries, especially with mixed marriages. I have lived in 8 countries over the past 20 years and not once I hve I heard of a situation like this been easy. It’s not New Zealand , it’s worldwide. They are trying to protect the kids. This is what happens when you leave your country of origin, and none of us think of this when we have kids and relocate. I did because I’d heard for many years of the same stories, I’m (happily) married to an arabic man and have 2 children. They were born in NZ and are under my sponsorship. I did this because I had heard of stories like yours and my lovely husband agreed for my peace of mind because he loves me and trusts me not to take them away unless there extreme bad circumstances. So as much as my heart goes out to you all, I’m sorry but you walked in with your eyes shut. I do wish you all the best and hope it works out

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    • Well done you, it must be wonderful to feel so secure in the arrangement you have with your husband.

      But, as you know, there have been cases where parents have been able to get their children out of New Zealand and persuade local courts to keep them there, in one case a child left Invercargill for medical treatment in Europe and never returned, despite action by her father in NZ to have her brought ‘home’ . Don’t be so sure that will never happen to you, despite all your forward planning.

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    • Hi Jacqui, thank you for your post, but I disagree with your comments ‘you walked in with your eye’s shut’. I moved to NZ with my British husband and two children (All of which are British Citizen’s). When we moved here, we did so with freedom of choice.

      Maybe I have old fashioned views on marriage, but when you marry, you do so with the intent of spending the rest of your life with that partner. Plans and decisions are made for your future and for your old age – and I think very few people enter into a marriage with the thought of what they will do if they divorce. (Would you marry if you’re thinking of divorce). I never in a million years expected my husband to physically assault one of my children, or have an affair behind my back – but he did and I have to accept that.

      You said you had heard stories about what could happen if you moved to a foreign country – and you took action just in case you were-ever put in that situation. Well you are one of the lucky one’s. For most of us we had no idea this could happen, and its not because we are ignorant or naive, but because we all thought we had freedom of choice to make the right decisions for our children – and if we ever needed to – we could return back home to our families in times of need. You said its to protect the children. How is it in the best interest of a child to live without their mother because she can no longer cope living in isolation and depression and has had to return back home without her child. Has anyone actually thought about the impact that is going to have on both of their lives – its a catastrophic that’s what it is.

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  41. I bc a friend who has a daughter going thru the same thing only in serbia. Her husbands parents want to keep the son, but not the daughter, and husband tried to kill her.

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  42. My situation is similar except im from nz, my ex is from arab emirates, my brother has moved to australia and i wanted to take my 3 month old baby for a visit, she will b older by the time i leave, two days later i get a knock on the door with papers served to me preventing me taking my girl along with txts and statements against me. im frustrated that i have day to day care of her, do everything for her and he has the right to make all the decisions. So even though im from nz it doesnt matter. I sympathize with all your stories .

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  43. john :
    im yet another one trapped in purgatory here in nz. the one thing that i never can understand is how people in nz always tell me i should just go back home as im just the father, and start a new life. there is no way i could ever leave my children. unfortunatly i have to live in a underdeveloped, expensive, low job prospect country that i have nothing in common with ( im canadian which some say is similar, but i havnt found that at all)
    seems there are alot of other expats trapped here in nz.. might be worth setting up a dedicated web page on the issue, if any one is interested let me know

    I only just come across this..
    John, Im a New Zealander trapped in purgatory here in Canada, namely this absolute trash hole Toronto.
    I feel your pain mate, people here have said why dont you just go home and start a new life. Thats like telling you to drown your own children! no one can just start a new life and leave their children behind!
    I was here on a working holiday permit with my Canadian girlfriend (lived together in Oz before coming here) long story short she got what her family wanted, and as a father and non resident here I could do nothing about it. Daughter was abducted to Panama. And even though the law here states its child abduction, even though the law here states that any child travelling with one parent must have the other parents signed and notorized consent, I couldnt do anything about it unless involving lawyers and an absurd amont of money. Even the head off security at pearson airport told me this to my face. I earnt more than $12000 so couldnt apply for assistance, but thankfully she was returned a month later.
    Its so damn expensive to live here supporting myself, my daughter, and get by day to day with absurd insurances, immigration paperwork taxes and bills. No family, no support.
    Socializing? doesnt exist working all week, and doing 200km travel each week just to get your child as the mother is just useless.
    Taking my Daughter back to N.Z just for a holiday to see her real family who I havent seen in over 3 yrs? Good luck coming up with the $5000 alone just for the tickets. She’ll be lucky to see them by the time she hits her teens, by which time the white trash canadian side of her family would have sunk their seedy way of life into her as much as possible
    Im a strong man, have endured more than most would believe, and have come to terms with many hard things, but these things/situations that are happening to people on here like you and many others makes my blood boil.

    I do understand the emotions, frustrations and disbelief of how this all feels, albeit different in some way for all of us.
    I also hope that maybe there has been a site set up for you expats trapped in N.Z, at the very least to be an avenue for you all to get some sort of help. And maybe if this thread or whatever it is still has some life in it, that I’ll get a note or link back to it.

    Best of luck to you ALL

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  44. B :
    Hi Helene,
    I am in a similar situation too. I want to take my son back to Australia but his Father won’t allow it. I live in one of the most expensive towns in NZ but the wages in this area are generally one of the lowest in the entire country?! I feel that when it comes to my ex it is more about him ‘winning’ and having power over me than it is to do with truly wanting more access to his son. To make matters worse, when we split my son and I and were entitled to nothing from him (financially) as his house was in a Trust and I currently receive $19 per week in child support. I am outraged, I feel cheated and more than anything I am just so homesick all the time. I realise that there are a lot of Fathers out there that have been screwed over by the family court system in the past and that is why the courts have decided to treat Fathers equally now, however I feel that they are overcompensating for past injustices and now Mothers like you and I, Helene, are paying for their past bad judgements.

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    • Hi Helene

      I 100% agree with you. My Ex husband physically assaulted my 15 year old son (He punched him so hard in his face he split his lip, then grabbed him by the hair and pulled so hard he had a fist full of his hair in his hand). I have given the courts proof that my ex was a violent man and this is not the first time of violence against children and woman, yet the courts still gave my husband 50% day to day care of our 7 year old child – I’m devastated. And just to rub the salt in the wounds, I’ve been served with a prevention of removing a child from NZ for my 7 year old. We are all British Citizen’s including my Ex husband and I can’t understand why the courts would allow this man so much power with such a violent history. Is this really done for the sake of the child, or is this so NZ have the statistics to show the world they’re a fair country and treat father’s as equals??? – its a shame they’re not taking into account the child’s welfare.

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      • Its because he is ‘the man’ that is all – it’s Penis Power in NZ, majority of judges believe they have to make up for the years ago when mums got ‘custody’ note how the word custody was removed from the courts last few years – they emphatically believe in shared care with dads being a status quo if you happen to have a son – omg lol forget being the one who gave birth – sick bastards my fellow kiwi judges and lawyers are. Mums, Ask for shared care and you WILL get it of you do not already have it – at least then you have equal footing – then go for more time little by little – this strategy had worked for me for some time – But no, you cant leave NZ 😦

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  45. Hi, I’m from England and stuck in aus. I’ve been here for almost 10 years and I long to go home now. My ex is also a controlling and sometimes abusive man and has put me and my son through an awful time.
    I don’t know about NZ but Australia is a very patriarchal society and your role as Mother and primary care giver is not viewed as worth a whole lot.

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    • In New Zealand they have that bloke worship problem, too, unfortunately, My sister was told that the father, with an unimpressive employment history and drug problems, cunningly and serially living off of women because he can barely stand on his own two legs, was needed as some kind of balance and an anchor for the poor child, merely by the fact of being a male in his life, because mothers are just lightweight fluff apparently? And you do not want your son growing up to be one of these brittle blokes walking around with uncriticisable giant cardboard testicles tied to his hips in place of being a real person. It goes back to Victorian ideas that women were weaker. They are decades behind in their sociocultural thinking in this part of the world. This is very unfortunate for foreign women from modern nations who fall into a marriage trap with these pathetic men, and then become trapped in a post-divorce custody nightmare with them, forced by their love for their children to reside in these backward nightmare countries.

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    • Hi Claire, I am in a similar situation. Where are you in Australia? I am a mother in Melbourne. Might be nice to make contact. Hopefully we can contact each other through this website but if you are close we could have tea?! (-:

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  46. I don’t even know where to begin reading all of these stories – except that I feel quite ill. I’m in quite a different, yet similar predicament to a few of you – I know this website was quite easy to find with a quick simple google search, so I’m going to be a bit paranoid and say that I’m not going to discuss my situation on here for fear of other parties tracking it down, however if anyone would like to be in touch with me to discuss it, just simply chat or whatever, my email is mje17@waikato.co.nz.

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    • Hi Sandra here – my heart goes out to you all. I am Irish and lost my relocation case to go back to Ireland with the boys in December. I have 2 boys ages 6 and 4- have been seperated from their dad for 2 1/2 years. My eldest was born in Ireland and one year later we came back to NZ and had my 2nd child. Dad has shown a transient ‘when it suits him’ interest in the boys since we seperated. No family here, no real support. I feel the judge basically said I was resilient and coping well and dad needs to be more pro-active. What? so because I havent fallen apart completely and hes not a wife beating drug addict I am forced to stay here?

      Would love to chat to some people who have been through similiar – slicki30@hotmail.com

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      • Just to add a further spanner in the works……anyone hoping to go back when their kids are 16 (just because they can override their father’s decision)…you need to consider if your child wants to go to uni.

        It seems that the university system in the UK expects you to reside in the UK for 3 years prior, in order to get domestic fees. Else you have to pay international fees (much higher). If your child wants to be a doc, dentist or vet…..the fees are ridiculously high…30K + POUNDS per year in tuition.

        People who are thinking of emigrating, beware!!! Do your homework! You can’t just go back if it doesn’t work out, and the repercussions for both you and your child are long term!

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      • Can anyone advise how long they took to get a decision through the NZ court system ? I know all cases are different but almost 2 years and still no court date here !

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        • That is a potential problem, uk lady. The problem with a child who is waiting to leave New Zealand with you and you hope the court might “listen to him when he is 13 or 14” for the purpose you describe above, is that it’s still fightable if the child is younger than 16. So you might end up spending the UK uni fees on a court case in an effort to bring him back to the UK before he is 16 anyway! And sadgrandma, it took me almost 3 years to actually appear in front of one of their “judges”. Insane. Gave my ex enough time to get himself a job and ostentatiously go off of drugs. He became involved with someone else but held off formally hooking up with the piece of work he’s living with now until after the decision. Also underworked to qualify for legal aid. Their system is not one you want to become sucked into.

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        • sadgrandma – 3 years for me before we appeared in front of a judge and actually received a decision. A lot can happen in 3 years. So for example the father involved in my case cleaned up his dope and underemployment act of many years, and presented himself well as a reformed person and good father, carefully coached by his lawyer to spout “caring speeches” smack out of a breakfast cereal commercial, at a nod from the lawyer on the side that he was to “stand and deliver” at given times. Disgusting, just theatre.

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  47. Hi, my name is Leena. My ex is applying for Permenent Residency in NZ under the partner scheme on NZ. He says that he wants to include my kids name in the application. I’m afraid that he’ll take my kid away and I will be helpless against the laws of NZ. Is he allowed to do this? We have joint custody of my kid so is he even able to apply for PR for my kid without my consent?

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    • Leena, you need to see a lawyer. Obtaining New Zealand “residency papers” will go a long way in their courts to show that you are okay with them being there. If you are not okay with them being there or do not trust your ex, fight it tooth and nail.

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    • Leena, no,no, you can lost your kid later under NZ system. The court even can allow your ex to apply for NZ citizenship without your permission. It was happened in my case.

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      • Yes, but another problem is if you seem too obstructive, that goes against you too. I had a big gag stuffed in my mouth. Lawyer would not let me say anything. It is all orchestrated above your head, and you are powerless. The things that happened to us that I was not allowed to mention. Yet these things were very important to our experience in New Zealand. It was unreal. Their court system is a horrible place to be trapped. Droolers.

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  48. My goodness, I can’t believe what I’m reading… Insanity! My situation is different in that I only want to move from auckland to Christchurch… My kids are English but ex is a kiwi as I am… I’m over having to work in a very stressful job to afford to live here… And with very little effort was just offered a job in chch paying slightly less… I grew up in chch and want the quieter upbringing for my kids, but my ex refuses to let me leave. Friends in the UK were able to move across the country but its looking like I can’t here… Any advice?

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  49. It would be very difficult for you unless the ex moved as well. In addition, CC is an unstable zone and this would work against you in your application. Very few people are allowed to move kids away from a parent who can demonstrate involvement, regardless of the circumstances. I have heard about criminals, mentally ill fathers, abusive situations, “easily faking more involvement than they actually have”, they still will not permit the mothers to move, and you cannot seem like you are critical of the father, regardless of what he is or what he does. So proving that the involvement is fake and low-quality if he documents it craftily enough is “being critical”, not being real. Upshot – court system outcomes are bullshit and a lot depends on how much effort your lawyer puts into the case.

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  50. my situation is a sfollows: i have two kids of two different nz fathers, but one gives me a lot of grief while the other is understanding and supportive of my wish to move either out of ak or even back home overseas.Without permission you are really stuck.
    the resentful ex has (in my opinion) a mental disorder, bi-polar does run in his family. it makes him unpredictable at times, especially as he is not treated for it and drinks alcohol while having Hep C.
    He has assaulted my son in 2009 and a year later his girl friend in 2010. when he admitted the assaults. A parenting order was put in place and supervised visits agreed on.
    how sad that i was soft hearted and believed in his promising words of doing anger management courses and parenting courses to change his abusive behaviour…..
    he has not solved anything really. Whenever you can get a protection order or charge your ex for assault DO IT RIGHt ON THE SPOT, dont believe in the peaceful approach and only be loyal to your child’s and your safety. I dwwply regret that i havent charged him as now he damages my life even worse with a legal battle as a custodian you cannot win.

    My son has been talked over by his lawyer of child to try unsupervised visits, while he was very clear with me that he does not want to see his Dad alone. he is not 100% sure about unsupervised but gives it a try. this causes a lot of worries for my boys safety and my own as well.

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    • We were instructed by lawyer that we had to look peaceful and positive towards the ex always, no matter what he did. So although not bringing out in court all the “ammo” we had on his illegal, abusive and bad conduct, , it still went against us. See if your son can tape some of your ex’s aggressions whilst visiting him, by use of a cellphone. My poor son leaves things at home with me that he does not want his father and girlfriend to take from him for themselves (food, money, entertainment gadgets etc.).

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  51. Hi All.
    I’m a British citizen – so are my two children and ex husband, but I have been served with a prevention from removing my youngest son from NZ. I moved to NZ 6 years ago for my husbands work (and we all became residences). I separated from my husband last year because he physically abused my 15 year of son, and he was also having an affair behind my back. I have no family here and I feel so isolated. Can New Zealand really issue a British citizen a ‘prevention from removing a child from NZ’ when even the father is a British Citizen – it doesn’t make sense.

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    • Yes, it does not matter where your children are born or even if they are British in their culture or accents. It does not matter that they have British citizenship and not New Zealand citizenship. It does not matter that one sibling is elsewhere or is old enough to have his own opinion about where to live. You have a much, much better chance of being allowed to leave, however,.than if you were married to a Kiwi. Marry a Kiwi and you are simply screwed. You do hear boasts about how great their system is, I have no clue where they get that idea. It takes years to proceed though the courts, and is very expensive unless you can prove indigency. Many people underwork, or move in with a boyfriend or girlfriend, for that purpose alone. The process is a combination of mud slinging and “dealing”. No objective study of your case will be done, or if done, it will not be paid attention to in court. If you did a runner, he would be able to pull you back to New Zealand, and New Zealand would pay his legal bills. It does not matter what your husband did to the children or to you, unless he fractured your skull or the like, if you could even prove you were “not at fault” in the act, but otherwise, it does not matter to the court what the father does. It is only “how long you have lived in New Zealand”, if he has managed to prevent you from returning to the UK because you needed his co-operation to leave or were hoping to get it rather than just “run”, then he has made a jurisdiction grab and nothing else matters. He has won the game for years to come. Still, with only one younger child at stake, they will listen to his opinion more in 5-6 years and you may have a small chance of leaving then. Otherwise you are a prisoner until he or she is 16. By then the child may be a settled teen with friends, and not want to leave, anyway. The only time court proceedings happen quickly in New Zealand is if they want to drag someone back. Then they can have proceedings expedited. This is never in favor of the running parent, however. Do NOT move to New Zealand to help your marriage, and do not move to New Zealand with children from another country unless you completely trust your spouse. If there are children involved, and you do not like living there, see a lawyer as soon as you can. Don’t wait to “persuade” your spouse that you do not like it. You do not even have to be married to the person. Common-law partners with children are also affected by the steel net they can throw over you.

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  52. Hi All, thank you for your comments, and I do appreciate you telling me of your own experiences. Its hard to believe that NZ can run such a system with no thought to the child’s well-being. I don’t care how many people use the line – “its for the child’s best interest”, its just a cover up for the court system to manipulate the system for their own needs and statistics. My son was appointed a barrister and although my son stated he wanted to go back to the UK – that was never heard in court – and what he wanted had no baring on their decision – ‘For the child’s best interests’???

    Maybe its time the courts started to look at the FULL picture – and not just from just one side 🙂

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  53. Hi all,
    Wow I thought I was the only one in this situation! I have a seven year old son and I’m Irish and his dad is a kiwi. We met while travelling and he sold me the kiwi dream, we moved here and soon afterwards my son arrived. Things didnt work out and we seperated when my son was 18 months old. Despite my ex going a little crazy I said I would stay here and even though we are no longer together he still had a lovely son in his life.
    All was going well till school and we had shared care. My ex decided he wanted full custody as he has family support here and country life is better blah blah blah. Well we went to court and it was horrific! I don’t know what planet the judge is on, I got upset and said I wanted whats best for my son and he basically laughed and told me to get control. To make it worse my ex brought his whole family to court so I had to walk past them all when going in and out of court! The judged ruled for my son to be with me during the week and his father gets to see him after school on a Wednesday and two out of three weekends. But the killer was I can only go to Ireland once every two years, can’t take my son out of school for more then two weeks, can’t go for longer then four weeks and for every hour his dad misses out on he gets to make this time up whenever he likes. I also have to give three months written notice to my ex before I can go. I didn’t manage to take it all in but what about my families rights to make up for time they don’t get to spend with my son??? They miss him dearly and I’m now too scared to go as I know my ex will tack his time onto the already abundant 4 weeks he got allocated for during school summer holidays so possible meaning he’ll have my son for six weeks and I won’t have a right to see him! Which I know would really upset my son he struggles going out for a week and when he comes back he gets up at all hours of the night for hugs and just wants to be close to me, it breaks my heart.
    The judge even said to me that due to my ex’s behaviour when we separated i could have gotten full custody back then if I wanted!
    I’m growing to really dislike this place and feel totally trapped and alone. Kinda glad to know there are others out there like me don’t feel so alone 🙂
    Hugs to all may we all get home someday 🙂

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    • Hi, I was in the Family Court last month for my relocation case. I was denied relocation, denied holiday time and also the stupid Judge increased the contact time for my ex. She now awards him 5 out of 14 days. I have a few more days left before my appeal period is closed. I feel that the Judge already discriminated against me from day 1 of the 3 day hearing. She picked on my skinny weight, my Asian culture, and seems to idolise my ex. I feel so alone here. I wrote to every political party in NZ but they refuse to help. All the lawyers here wants to charge $300/hour to help. None of them understand how hard it is for me in NZ, alone without family.
      The stupid Judge even dictate what time and when I can call my child when he is not under my care! I am not allowed to say good night to my child every night! He is not even 5 years old yet.

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      • It is all a big stage, and your actual access to the human judge who is making these important decisions about your child’s life is extremely limited. So you are dependent on what your lawyer chooses to say. When you see your ex stand up in a nice shirt, lying so smoothly, with his lawyer-coached delivery, and can barely believe your eyes because he’s nothing like the controlfreak lazy, druggie, nasty reeking mess of a wankeryou had to live with day in and day out for years until you escaped, and you think the judge surely must see through this…well, they don’t. Family Court is a “stage”, and a game of Chinese Whispers. Your day-to-day reality that led you to have to leave this awful person for your child’s sake is “lost in translation” through all the hoops you have to jump through. Family Court is like a plumbing system, and I don’t see anything but poo coming out.

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        • Thank you U.B. I feel the same about the Family Court. But it seems to be the only way I can even try to plead for a holiday out of NZ. Everyone I turn to tells me to go back to the Court. Neither my son or I have seen my family members for 3 years now and I dont know when we can. It’s that non-removal order that is ridiculous. Is there any idea out there? And I agree with the well presented ex… (not to mention much well off too)

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      • I am so so sorry to read your story here – i cried for you as a mum also – you deserve better my sweet girl. i wish I could help you more – but feel free to contact me and I can offer some moral support at least

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  54. Trapped, they have you sewed up pretty tightly there, basically handing the father the reins of control over your own life through your concern for your son, and I am sure you feel very alone as well, with your ex’s family doing the “blood thicker than water” thing (very familiar to most of us on this thread). Especially considering how much his family might have contributed to your disliking New Zealand in the first place. They are using the thin end of the wedge on you, so you can probably look forward to years in court trying to hold on. They will try to completely wrest your kid away to “kiwi-ise” him. The judges seem to think that boys in particular need to be “bloke-ised” by Kiwi fathers. They tend to be very sexist that way. If you had a daughter, it would be easier. Push for a communication schedule when he is away from you, and hold your ground, don’t let them chip away at your care time. You know what’s good for your own kid. You don’t want him becoming like his dad, I am sure. Be staunch girl! Make sure you find a lawyer that does the business for you and do everything you can to see if you qualify for legal aid. You might even write and file your own motions. Make it “very much not worth the trouble” to try and take your kid away from you.

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  55. Hi I hear and feel for him in a very similarly situation but I’m in oz with 18 month old my lawyer says it could take a couple of years t be solved I have no one hear been married for 14 years came t ozas a backpacker meet my husband then two years ago we decided t have baby then he told me at 3months it’s over imdeperatly wanting t go backi have a intervention order on him for domestic violence I can’t believe I’m in this situation I hear hundreds of stories through out the world where this is happening many with not good out comes the should teach these situation at school because I wouldn’t wish this on any one I any one can help advise please let me know

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  56. my daughter is in the middle of a custody battle in a foreign country and is a nz citizen,just the same old rubbish from the law fraternity coupled with their unabashed greed for services.she cannot get a job there…husband divorced without any discussion,installed a young workmate girl in his home and expect the children to carry on regardless…walked out…left my daughter with debt….she scrapes along with my husband and i helping her…her ex earns $300.000per yr..and pays her $1,200 per month which is her rent in a tin pot 2 bed…nothing for food hospital visits……and their law in fact our stupid law here in nz also…espouses nonsense as well……for the benefit of the children….my big toe…what a load of garbage……the parents need to have the whole history put forward to the court and and then talk about the benefit of the children…..there is a parallel issue here……any country should have no lawful right to hold a foreigner in a country just because the spouse happens to be in the resident country as at the divorce time….the whole picture should be looked at especially the history of some of these ding bat so called father’s and mother’s …..for goodness sake someone get moving and get this totaly nutty hague convention junk sorted…..whew…..so there we are….

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  57. Hi Everybody,

    I will Start a HUNGER STRIKE ON THE 15 th OF JULY IN THE ORAKEI DOMAIN. ( The date me and my daughter were planning our trip)

    I DEMAND MY FREEDOM AND THE FREEDOM OF MY CHILD . I AM REFUSING TO BE A PART OF A SYSTEM MISUSED BY BULLIES AND CRIMINALS .
    I WANT JUSTICE . I WANT THE FREEDOM AS A TURKISH CITIZEN TO GO TO TURKEY. I WANT THE FREEDOM AS A MOTHER TO TEACH MY CHILD HER CULTURE AND HERITAGE .

    I WANT TO BE RELEASED FROM MY IMPRISONMENT IN NEW ZEALAND BECAUSE I GAVE BIRTH HERE.

    I WILL NOT BACK UP, WILL NOT STOP MY HUNGER STRIKE UNTIL I WILL DIE OR GET MY RIGHTS AS A MOTHER TO GIVE MY CHILD A FREEDOM TO LIVE
    WITHOUT BEING BULLIED HER WHOLE LIVE.

    TO PEOPLE WHO THINK what kind of mother goes on a hunger strike here is my answer:

    A MOTHER WHO LOVES HER CHILD WILL FIGHT FOR HER FREEDOM . I REFUSE TO BE A PRISONER IN NEW ZEALAND / I REFUSE TO LEAVE MY CHILD BEHIND/
    I REFUSE MY CHILD TO GROW UP WITHOUT MEETING HER GRANDPARENTS OR ANY RELATIVES / I REFUSE TO SEE MY CHILD SUFFER .

    IF YOU ARE IN PRISON THE THINGS YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILD ARE LIMITED

    My name is Tijen Kizildere my daughter is Ilana Kizildere Sakgun born 3rd of November 2004.
    Her father is T.S

    I am in New Zealand since 2004 and since I arrived, I lived under constant threat and abuse of T.S
    I had to stay in the Woman’s Refuge during my pregnancy .

    This bullying and assault goes on since years but he started to use our Daughter after she was born to abuse and insult me even further,
    constantly threatening me with separating me from my child.

    I am the only person who does look after Ilana since nearly 6 years , I have the day to day care of my child. T.S refused to make any Parenting arrangements.
    Refused to pay any Child Support. I didn’t get any support or Government hep during this 6 years.

    Me and Ilana was granted a protection order against T.S by the Police.

    He is using Ilana to keep me in New Zealand and punish me . I never could go back to visit my parents or my Country so didn’t Ilana.
    My daughter has the right to learn her Culture and language .

    Now he placed again an Order Preventing Removal of Child from New Zealand . Me and my daughter did let him know about our plans and he was happy for us to
    go until again he changed his mind again.

    I can not leave New Zealand as I have no family here in NZ to look after Ilana while I am away and I do not want to leave my daughter behind.
    My daughter Ilana doesn’t want to stay with her father and I do not won’t her to stay with him neither as I do not trust him.

    I have text messages and proof and people who would testify against what king of father he is.
    I have text messages where he states that he can not come and see Ilana or take care of here as he is under medication.

    But T.S can go and apply whenever he feels like to the family Cord for an emergency order to be made without letting me know or any investigation.

    I DO NOT HAVE ANY ENERGY OR TIME LEFT TO DEAL WITH LAWYERS AND CORD HEARINGS , AS EVERY TIME HE IS BORED HE GETS LEGAL AID AND GOES TO CORD WITHOUT ACTUALLY WANTING ANYTHING.HE STEALS MY AND ILANA S TIME AND MONEY . LAST TIME THE CORD CASES FOR PARENTING ARRANGEMENTS TOOK NEARLY 1 YEAR AND HE WAS IN BREECH OF ALL THE ORDERS MADE. AND AGAIN NOTHING HAPPENED TO HIM . HE IS STEALING OUR LIFE AND TURNING IT INTO HELL WITHOUT GETTING PUNISHED OR BEING A FATHER TO ILANA .

    Please call me if you have this kind of experiences or if you can help .

    Phone: 021 183 0530
    Email: contact@nok.co.nz

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  58. i think you are very brave,this whole system is rotten ,ill conceived and stupid,anything enlightened on the custody subject is in the too hard ,i’m alright jack basket,…
    we seem to nurse the wrong people,for instance someone who dishonestly enters nz and a whole load of sympathizers carry on like the person concerned was some kind of messiah,they get all the 1st class treatment,whilst decent mother’s and father’s seeking justice get a cart load of rhetoric rubbish from the law and lawyers spouting equal nonsense…my prayers go with you,people find it easier to save the kiwi or some bird or snail much more personnel equipped and funded……nutty

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  59. I am going though the same situation from England so is my daughter but trapped by nz laws feel like a prisoner here

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  60. I am in exactly the same situation as you but living in Australia. Being a New Zealander I do not get financial support such as a benefit from the Australian government even though I have worked and been living in Australia for over 3 years. My baby has a New Zealand passport and my baby’s father is also a New Zealander. I want to come home but I am trapped here.

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  61. New Zealand is a hard place to live. Being trapped by Hague in somewhere like America or Europe with airfares to go see your family being affordable, and more jobs, cheaper cost of living, and all, versus being trapped on a remote poor island with all those factors being harder for you = two different things. These parents trapped in New Zealand are often looking forward to a decade and a half of poverty, alienation, etc.

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  62. Im in a situation where my husband from the UK is trying to relocate back to the UK with our daughter and we currently live in Australia. Its horribly hard and expensive to defend this. I am confident I can win this but I just don’t know. The stress and the sleepless nights is definitely taking a toll. He has insisted on a 50/50 shares custody arrangement which is also taking its toll on our daughter. I feel for all you mums out there as it so easily could have been me stuck in the UK and fighting to get back to my home country where my family lives.

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  63. Hi
    My brother finds himself in the same situation with two kids 5 and 8 where they were born in the USA and moved to their mothers hometown in New Zealand with my brother. They were then supposed to spend some years in Australia after a few in nz but since then his wife recently announced separation and has no intention of leaving New Zealand. This leaves my brother stuck there as he can’t desert his kids.
    How have things progressed for you?
    Amelia

    Like

    • Amelia,
      My brother is in a very similar situation, in NZ, as your brother – their kids are the same age, too. Would be great if they could connect. If you read this will you email me?

      Like

  64. I am american trapped in australia with my american born son and aussie born daughter. I was denied basicrights in court and told repeatedly by lawyers barristers the judge and ‘childrens lawyer’ (laughable as he never bothered to know their names and never met them) that ‘i did not count’. The ex never pays child support gambled and beat me down on all levels including bashing me when i hsd my son in my arms etc etc…but i am not even allowed to visit home with kids. He wont ‘allow’ passports and i am trapped in poverty under impossible circumstances. He was never even questioned in court was able to accuse me of being insane and was treated like a hard done by parent and i was held up like some witch in a salem court. Australia needs another visa category: hostage.

    Sickened that sociopaths are actually able to use court
    To further harm their ex’s and the children. ‘In the best interest of the children’????? To add insult to severe injury i cannot make him have 50/50 true shared responsibility according to courts so that i can at least salvage a career and get respite as i have noone here to help. Nor can he be made to pay child support. Whst the????

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  65. The latest cr*p academic theory is that if family members are tethered to a child’s life in a location that he or she is familiar with, that the child will do better. Simplistic thinking, yes. And regardless of the fact that one or both parents may not get along well or one or both parents may be dysfunctional, have substance abuse problems, issues with finding decent work or housing, are culturally poorly acclimated to the place they are being held hostage, or have brought a new partner to the mix with their own problems. It is insane. I hope the thinking is changing based on the fallout from implementing this faulty psych theory in the courts. I think foreign parents fare especially poorly in Australasian courts. Their fates vary depending on circumstance. I have heard some nightmare stories from New Zealand and Australia, and seen hostage mothers in some bad situations. For years.

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  66. I’m a American in the same situation in Ireland. I fled domestic violence from my sons Irish father and made the huge mistake of going to a women’s refuge thinking I had finally found help. In three weeks time due to the HSE’s demands because of the economy(so we were told by staff) they moved us to the non- national homeless unit in Dublin where were have been treated horrendously, my son was even physically man handled by one of the ”caretakers.”

    We are now in a hotel in one of the worse location in Dublin and had to be moved to different floor because of the harassment and bullying my son has received by the travellers, drug addicts, prostitutes and ASBO Irish family’s being housed here.I magine not being able to cook for your children and being stuffed in one room for months and months. Before we were placed in hostels run by bullies, and trust me the people that run these places have no business minding hamsters much less family’s in crisis like most of us are. We are totally alone and abandon in this country.

    My gentle little boy cry’s for his pets, toys and the few friends we had to leave behind. The courts gave his father visitation once a week and I was told if I don’t produce my son I will be jailed and as a punishment he will get even more access to his son who is terrified of him.

    My heart physically aches reading the pain on this website. All your words mirror so much of my situation. Ireland has a draconian family court system. Nothing is taken into account and the judges don’t want to know. I was also overwhelmed at the time and now I regret I didn’t fight harder but I don’t think it would have mattered.

    Ireland does not like foreigner’s unless they are paying tourist is my experience. I would warn any parent of a child travelling abroad to read this website before they make the mistake of having a family with someone from another country.

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  67. Dear you,
    I can hear your pain and your frustration. I writing from Melbourne where I have met many many women who are in your and my situation. It’s an extraordinarily awful predicament which very few people understand unless they are going through it. In Australia the law means that if the father has even the slightest interest or contact with his children then the courts rule that it is “the child’s right to have a relationship with their father”. Basically the mother’s liberties or best interests are completely swept aside by this notion of the child’s right to have a father. I have seen incredibly unfair court outcomes. And the mother, like me, simply has to accept that the next fifteen years are to be lived in australia. It comes from an idea that a child is a piece of property owned 50/50 by the two parents. Unless the father has an incredibly disturbingly bad criminal record his right to keep the child here wins again and again. Now in new Zealand it might be different… I want you to know you are not alone and that hundreds of women domt realise the legal consequences of separating when they are not in their own country. I wish the family laws of australia and elsewhere were more well known. You can come here (I was from the uk) feeling so light and free but it’s a big bursting bubble isn’t it when the family law courts wheels start turning. I want you to know that I hear your pain. I hope your beautiful child brings you wonderful happy times and great shifts occur. I hear your story and wish you so much strength and health.

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  68. Please read this…. my little brother who has just turned 10 has been in the family courts system since he was born, he has his own lawyer but it seems the family court keeps granting his biological father with the benefit of the doubt.. his biological father has been diagnosed with narcasism, and is incapable of feeling empathy for anything or anyone, he shot himself in the head with a nailgun when my Mum tried to flee. My brother has to see this guy every second week because it’s “the law” . recently my brothers biological Dad told my little bro that he was going to kill our Mum and that it was his fault, and that he would cut him up also. We told the court, the court believed the biological Dads lies, and visititation has proceeded as usual… the courts are not listening to us. He’s 10 years old for gods sake! why the hell do the family courts ignore what is clearly right in front of them??? He is abusing my brother right under their noses and they have proof and everything. Sometimes I think the only solution is to grab my brother and leave the country.. at least he would be safe.

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    • I just went through the courts and the magistrate appeared to be very sympathetic to my ex partner who has been making my daughters life so difficult over the past three years. I love the comment about the family court system being a plumbing system with only poo coming out of it. A very well written piece. It is very infuriating to watch my expartner represent himself and parade around the court while I use a barrister who sits pretty
      Much silent. The magistrates pathologise a mother’s love. I think fathers are jealous of mothers. The children are property in the family courts. It’s all about ownership. It’s total bollocks that the process has anything to do with the interests of the children. It is really vile that they even tell themselves that that is what they value. A deep sense of knowing the truth keeps me resilient to and peaceful in the wake of the lies spoken and the magistrates inaccurate summing up. I was described
      as subtly manipulative and possibly resistant to my daughters independence. This was in a situation when my daughter was having panic attacks, suicidal thoughts and continual resistant to going to her father… What was i supposed to do when the father told me that her behaviour was “nothing to
      worry about”? It’s laughable an impossible to come out portrayed positively from the family courts as a mother, in
      my experience, unless you hand
      over your children to the father.

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  69. Wow! Thank you everyone for shearing your stories! I have had the loneliest the last 3 years after I separated my Norwegian husband here in Norway (I’m from Argentina, we met in Bolivia and came to Norway when I got pregnant for my ex to “get a job and save some money and then go back to south america”). Although we always agreed to have our child (now almost 6) spending some of his childhood in Norway and some of it in Argentina, all of this changed after we broke up. Just recently we had a plan to spend 2014 there (To complete a master program I’m doing) but now he changed his mind again!!! Since we share custody, there’s nothing I can do about it!!! I’m so down and sad and devastated. I see I’m not the only one, though. but how can we help each other? How can this change? I have suffered from stress, anxiety, anger problems, depressions and a lot of loneliness since I moved here. Norway is a cold and dark place and it does not do me well. Raising a child as a single mom, in a foreign country with such a different culture is killing me!!! Also, I never agreed to raising my son as a “norwegian” and it’s heart breaking to see that he is less and less argentinean every day. There really needs to be a way to deal with these situations!!! I’m desperate! :_(

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  70. Try to be positive and involved with your child’s life as much as you can. Make your home a celebration of what you are. He might have stolen the home field, but make your time with your child as intense, happy and memorable for him as possible.

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  71. Thanks Mary! I do that and my son and I have a really good relationship. He is very happy and healthy too. it’s just me that lives heart broken. It’s not just that I don’t like it in here, this place makes me depressed with an 8-month long winter. I just don’t fit into this culture and I miss my own. I also feel bad that my parents cannot be active grandparents (although my mom is great at sending him packages and talking on Skype) and that my son is growing up as a norwegian. How do you deal with all this frustration? I don’t find anyone to talk about these things with, nobody understands, everyone assumes I should be happy to come from south america and live in such rich and safe country but as I said, I never had any interest to move here at all and the frustration to be stuck here takes all the energy out of me :_(

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  72. I have been reading this blog and need to let you ex=pats, immigrants etc.. know that – it is NOT just you’ll that the NZ courts are trapping in NZ. It is ALL Mothers, kiwi also!!!
    I have been trapped here for about 12 years out of a 16 year sentence.
    They will keep all the kiwi kids here in NZ – regardless of the gender parent who wants to leave. There is NOTHing you can say to make the judge see the truth – it is all true what the original poster was saying – but please people – it is NOT your nationality etc… the courts here will not let children leave until 16 when they have no say – what options we have are virtually zero – make a run for it- I left it too late to do that! Yes, the courts here favor fathers – but not STEP-fathers – only bio dads, only thing that I know will help you is if he has been found to sexually abusive to the child – only grounds the court consider him a little unfit.
    I have 1 child left out of 4 – waited all these years – now i will leave next year and have her visit me- then i will let her stay in Canada and try to get the court to help there.. .not sure .. only idea I have left… any support welcomed also.. and i will help you if I can.

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  73. there needs to be more leeway in the law…each case judged on it’s own…
    why should one parent be so underpinned financially,emotionally and without family when left in such a vulnerable predicament …it is tantamount to a violation of human rights….it seems strange even stupid to go on about the rights of the children yet abortion is okey dokey i am not at all demeaning women who have done so particularly because they have no support in many cases and are bereft of solution…..who in the umpty do makes these dumb badly put together laws…..unbelievable….

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  74. Wow, many of these examples above seem like a nightmare you just never wake up from.

    My wife had a child from a previous marriage and the husband was being a real jerk. The child was stuck in a European country outside of the EU. The country is so messed up that the father wasnt even living there and he would not sign the papers to release his own son to come to the country where we reside and (the father) also resides.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short, I paid off a judge to get the correct paper work signed off and the child was soon with us. I have always encouraged the father to visit, I dont care about the money but with all my efforts he visisted twice over two months and he has had no contact with the child since (7 years) although he is maybe a two hour drive away. (The Fathers) parents are always visited each time we visit the childs country of orgin at my insistence. I always attempt to keep up contact and keep it friendly because sometime in the future we maybe looking for a rare blood group if the child needs it.

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  75. Stuck in chch for another 8yrs or give up custody WTF!!!
    I cant beleive this is the case there has to be a stink we can put upn about this
    I read in the earlier/first posts there was mention of leaving details and getting this happening – Where can I leave mine??!!

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  76. I am in same boat after horrific witch hunt relocation court situation in AU. Poverty ridden alone w two kids and ex had to do nothing..not even pay child support. My kids have never met their american family. It is blatant abuse of me and children sanctioned and reiterated by alleged law professionals. A travisty and violation of basic human rights. Contact me ! Hal

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  77. I am stuck in NZ so I can be near my 2 kids, my family is far away. I have never lived in NZ and only moved here for 3 years so the kids could connect with my ex’s family and then the plan was to spend 3 years in Aus to be near my family. We separated a year after we arrived and now the ex is refusing to let the kids leave NZ. I have applied for Hague through the US dept of State which forwarded my case to the NZ central authority. NZ authority says I don’t have a case. There is a large body of evidence in Hague cases where spouses wrongfully retain the children and the children are duly returned to the original country where the agreement was made but it seems NZ chooses to ignore this. Unfortunately the Hague convention does not define “habitual residence” and leaves that to the relevant courts to decide. I believe the convention is outdated and needs to be revised so that it is no longer possible to retain children permanently in the new country when the agreement was either conditional (e.g. are both spouses happy living in the new country) or temporary (e.g. we will stay for 3 years and then move).

    I want to group like minded people together to address these injustices. It is NOT ok for one parent to decide the future of the children without the agreement of the other spouse. If we don’t speak up and do something nothing will change.

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  78. I know for our part that we wanted to leave soon enough after moving there, and my partner did all sorts of things to make it hard for me to function there. His delay tactics made it possible for him to grab habitual residence. Evidence of this was ignored by the judge. My child was not even a NZ citizen and has siblings who were not even half-Kiwi. If they can trick you one way or another into staying there with the kids for a certain amount of time, you are screwed. Even if you can prove that they used those tactics. The judges don’t care. All Kiwis have this idea that New Zealand is a safe haven for families. On this site, we know the truth about its underbelly and endeavor to inform..

    Like

  79. My story is: I am a dual citizen of New Zealand and Canada. Born in NZ and lived my life in both countries. I married a kiwi and we had four children. When our marriage broke up because of his lies and infidelities, I decided to move back to Canada. We had a mutual agreement written up by lawyers, stating specifically that the children were to spend time with both parents, and could decide who to live with, in what country on an international basis, and neither parent would challenge each other. Well, my daughter who came with me first, wanted to stay in Canada with me, then changed her mind once she had been back in his care for a few short months. My two sons were with me in Canada, and did not want to go back to NZ, but the ex husband challenged me with Hague Convention, so the Canadian judge sent my boys back with him inside of 24 hours! We didnt even know he was here. Judge said because the agreement was made in NZ it had to be fought there. So of course the ex has blown everything up, lied in affidavits, bullied and manipulated my children and others. I have had no contact with my children for 8 months, and prior to that I only saw my boys for 10 hours when I was in NZ for 5 weeks! My ex has been given so many rights, I have exhausted legal aid, as I never thought we would have to spend money on court for this. Even the lawyer I had said the NZ Family Court is a joke. My parents live less than an hour from my children, yet because my ex owes them money and his new wife (moved in 5 days after I left the family home) doesn’t like anyone, they are banned from seeing or speaking to my children. My parents spent so much love, time and money supporting us when we were married, they are in their 70’s now, and they have not had contact with my children for over 18 months. The ex has even banned some of his own family from my children because they support the children having me in their lives. It is such a mess, and has caused me great upset and stress in my life. Moving back to NZ is not the answer. Having communication with my children is. I homeschooled my children for 5 years, while he was betraying us all. Now I am made to look like the wrong doer, just because I wanted my children to experience their roots in Canada. I am a the point where I want the media to know the injustice within the NZ Family Court, Is anyone with me on this? What can we do?
    Angie

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    • They have the ability to brainwash, don’t they! Very good at it. Never trust them. Never trust any agreement coming out of them, on or off paper. We had an agreement that we could return if it did not work out which my ex was on record as having made with us. Once they get the kids there, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except that a Kiwi gets to have his blood there in his country with him. This is the typical experience many of us have had with NZ Family Court. I for one was encouraged to present a straitjacketed desubstantiated case for moving away, completely stripped-down, containing no emotion, distress (judge concluded therefore that I was a cold person – he probably would have concluded I was mentally ill if I had included any emotion! There is no winning with them!), avoiding anything negative (and even just leaving important factors out, no matter how critical the factors were in shaping the actions we took in New Zealand whilst living there) or I would “look worse to the court”, and my ex with his lawyer’s help manipulated, fibbed, twisted,and spun, made OTT and erroneous assertions. I did not understand why he could get away with everything playing fast and loose when I couldn’t. What’s good for the gander surely! But no. I am sure they knew full well the judge’s lack of time to make a decision,and the extreme cultural provincialism. (how to “play” these in their favour). The upshot is, the judge will think that you could well enough move back to New Zealand, and the odds are against you. If you want to see your children, I would recommend that you move back there and fight for as much time as you can get with them. He’ll give you a hard time, and your sanity will be challenged, but at least you will have your parents nearby.

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  80. Sign me up. The laws should not exist. The primary carer should decide the place children live. My x does not much and isnt even made to pay child support. And i am trapped in oz under poverty line. Shared responsibility is a crock as it means primary carer is trapped and has to cowtow to the ex whilst having full responsibility and ex gets all rights. Sorry but non primary parent must be forced to pay true child support based on true cost of raising kids regardless of whether or not they feel like holding a job and get off their bums to see children where primary carer chooses to move. Sadly its typically the abusive male who even thinks to trap a woman and kids with no support or extended family as way to continue to abuse. And the courts fully back their play. Noone gave me a discount on my visa or warning on passport i would be trappep here. No offer of discounted anything to b forced to live here. Yet i also get put down for being an immigrant in an intolerant society. Visa status now officially HOSTAGE!

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  81. http://www.smh.com.au/national/family-court-refuses-to-send-quakeaffected-boys-back-to-new-zealand-20140126-31gvf.html Go Australia!

    The Family Court of Australia has rejected an attempt by New Zealand authorities to secure the return of two boys who were unlawfully taken to Sydney by their mother after the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, finding that the children would be further traumatised if they were ordered home.
    The mother of the boys, aged 10 and 12, took them from the devastated city without telling their estranged father and built a new life in Sydney, according to a Family Court judgment published recently.
    The woman said she fled the city because her house had been rendered uninhabitable by the powerful quakes, that it was then looted by hooligans and that she had lost her job when her employer went out of business.
    These experiences had significantly traumatised her two children, with the younger of the two suffering post traumatic stress disorder characterised by insomnia.
    Advertisement
    The court heard that, despite the fact the boys had effectively been abducted, with their mother failing to report the move to their father or New Zealand authorities, the youngsters subsequently settled into their new home.
    Both were experiencing a ”higher standard of living than before”, had settled into new schools, found new friends, and built relationships with counsellors.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/family-court-refuses-to-send-quakeaffected-boys-back-to-new-zealand-20140126-31gvf.html#ixzz2rXKetXcq

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  82. A well regarded professional advisor is able to offer emotional support to mothers trapped in New Zealand, especially those who have lost 50% or more of their time with their children.

    She is based in Auckland and is conducting a research project. She would like people to get in touch with her. We can’t publish her email and phone number here but will pass them on to anyone who’d like them. Please leave a message, or send us a private message on Twitter or Facebook.

    Thank you, and good luck.

    Like

    • We can either send the details to the email address you’ve already provided, or you can contact us privately through twitter or Facebook. (If you use twitter we’ll have to follow each other to exchange private messages).

      Like

  83. If she would speak to smericsn mum trapped in oz w kids i went thru things a horrid womens daytimeiniseries wont cover. As we type the x i left 9 years ago is smsing he will rip children from me. I already lost a fiance my giant family in states socioeconomic status and he exhausts me while i work saying i have to leave to hand deliver to he who vacations overseas w no job or inclination to pay back child support. Oh and apparently i am abuser. Aussies can travel to disneyland but my american kidz n i cannot….

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  84. If she would speak to american mum trapped in oz w kids. Ex at this moment threatening court and taking kids frim me. Guess his illegal trip to bali when he doesnt pay his child support didnt go well. Myst be nice to have a passport and no shared responsibility just all rights. and it will never b enough for him. His mission is to destroy and courts help the destroyers.

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  85. It is amazing that the American lady from Whangarei got away with her “runner” (how did she do it?), because I and other women who disliked the so-called “lifestyle” in New Zealand were instructed by our respective counsels not to do a runner, because we would be pulled right back by Hague. We were told to play it completely straight “or else”. And we all knew a couple of them who had been pulled back, and a few who had been “scared out of even trying”. In actuality, we would probably have had a better chance with a runner than with the horrid, clogged, ignorant, biased courts. Despite the children having been born in a different country, often, most mothers are forced to stay anyway. The years they spend fighting to persuade the spouse to move home, futilely, and the years spent tussling in court, all merely add to the weight of the legalistic habitual residence argument, because the family spends all that geographic time in New Zealand. Which is counted against the spouse wanting to move. I know a bloke who works in a mental hospital, and he told me there are many, many migrants in there, a number way out of proportion, driven around the bend by the “lifestyle”, or more accurately, the dissonance between the purported “lifestyle” and the “survival experience” many migrants end up enduring. How many of these foreign spouses were being forced to live in New Zealand because the Kiwi spouse would not “consent” to moving back, once the family had been dragged there and anchored but hating it? Somehow that is never brought up. The Kiwi parent’s right to trap their spouse and kids in their phoney paradise, however, seems to be sacrosanct. Just do not move to New Zealand with children, or have children there, until you have lived there at least a couple years and are sure you want to stay!

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  86. http://www.justanswer.com/newzealand-law/4hvbr-daughter-us-citizen-new-zealand-teach.html

    “My daughter is a US citizen who came to New Zealand to teach

    My daughter is a US citizen who came to New Zealand to teach at a Montessori school for three years. She met a Kiwi who did not tell her he was an alcoholic and gambler until she was about 5 months pregnant and he stole her bank card and stole $1000. Now they are living separately but he has put an injunction against her to prevent her from leaving New Zealand. The father was born in the US also but his mother was a New Zealand citizen and his father is Samoan. The baby is also a US citizen. Does my daughter have any rights? Or are her son and she hostages in New Zealand.
    They never married.”

    I wonder what became of that case.

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  87. The point of all of this that you fail to understand is that the children are New Zealanders and the courts are there for the children, not the mother and not the father. All of these hard luck stories are about the parents experience. The law does not and should not care about you being tired or how you feel. The courts are there to make sure the rights of the child that are set in legislation are being met. Its is so important to remove emotion and culture to achieve target outcomes.

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    • Except these children aren’t all New Zealanders, a lot of them we born abroad and some have a parent from a previous relationship. They’re trapped because New Zealand is considered to be their place of residence and one parent won’t let them leave it. You need to research this problem more thoroughly before your ill informed comments earn you a ban for trolling.

      Like

      • We should hope that the highly technical interpretations of Hague soon stop, because children are suffering. Kiwi spouses do prevent foreign parent and children from leaving a bad place and many of these fathers did stalling manoeuvres until they stole this habitual residence status.The mothers would have left that country much sooner had the Kiwi parent not deliberately placed obstacles to their leaving, even very soon after arriving. Being in a place for x months does not mean that it is good for the children to stay in that place. New Zealand is an English speaking lower developed country in the Pacific with many problems. Many of these mothers wanted to return to their families for support and a better standard of living elsewhere. This is what is good for children. There is nothing about New Zealand as a society or geographic place, or New Zealand ‘living’, that is good enough excuse for forcing a non kiwi parent to stay there with only half kiwi offspring. Nothing at all. Quite the opposite in fact.

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    • how can you say that the best interests of the child are being meet if the main parent is depressed and suffering, how is that beneficial to the child’s wellbeing. Also what if the child has no family in New Zealand other than their parents but all their other family members such as grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins are all overseas, doesn’t it benefit the child to know their family and culture. For a child to be happy and well adjusted they need to have a parent who is also happy and well adjusted, as scientific research can prove.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Women who raise pay for and support their children on all levels have the right to make decisions on behalf of their children. Your ignorance of how marriages break down, how much the woman already gives up to follow a spouse to a foreign country and how abusive men are backed in court is astounding. The hague convention was not originally written to punish mothers and the laws since (MAN made) are grossly misinterpreted and carried out based on a patriarchal forget the childrens rights mysoginistic way. Trust me if majority of trapped disenfranchised empoverished sole providers were men…the laws would be struck down. They violate basic human rights and strip children at a chance at full life. I only know of abusive men who didnt pay any child support or support kidz even in marriage to drag foreign moms through relocation nightmare. Its a power play and their last consideration is the child. Let the less involved parent go where child and chief supporter goes. My ex loves that we are isolated and in poverty. Those elements are cornerstone of abuse.

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  88. Hi

    I am not in New Zealand but moved from South Africa 9 months ago leaving my 8 year old son with his father for all the reasons above……devastated……BUT look at article 13 in The Hague Convention and research it. I have scanned the internet….now the courts in the uk (if that’s where u want to return to) listen to children as young as 7 years old.there was recently a case where a 9 year old boy visited him mom in the uk and played up so much on the flight back to New Zealand, was so traumatised by it that the pilot turned the plan around and dropped him off in Heathrow! Many judges are siding with the psychological impact this has on the mothers and as a consequence the child in the UK. I’m sorry about those of you who want to relocate to different countries…..but I will say the courts are backwards in the likes of SA and New Zealand!! Never give up though never ever. My son doesn’t want to be with dad, a multi millionaire who never gave me a penny! He is 63 for goodness sakes. Also if you can possibly imagine it the best best best chance you have IS if you can leave your child with the parent and hope they don’t want to get on the plane, from reading this I know for many this is not an option. I will not tell my son this but will wait for him to be brave enough to stand his ground….he is getting there, fed up with dad totally. I was never married to him either. Don’t be sucked in by an ex’s power, that’s what happened to me. I have awful days, but you HAVE to do your research. The Hague convention has a place….it does for kidnapping and countries like Japan etc who although have just signed, don’t follow the rules. But new research is showing all round the gap in the system for women like us. There is a change, is hope and good will always prevail…….

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    • Until women have rights to speak for best interest of their flesh and blood whom they nurture pay for and protect from conception onward…it is sickening. Putting children in middle instead of acknowledging mothers rights actually helps perpetuate distress and often times abuse from the ‘father’. We have a right to pursue a full better life on behalf of our children with support. Period. You better believe the fetid fathers for equality groups state their rights first…and yet the laws favour them as the women are too busy raising kids with little support and kept poor to not have $ to influence laws…we havent come a long way baby. Why are they so afraid of women having equality?

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  89. I’m sorry for all of your plights however take one second to think about the NZ husband/wife/partner’s side of the story. In exactly the same way you do not want to live in NZ they might not want to follow you to your home country. I am in the opposite situation. My wife is from the US and I am from NZ. If we broke up and I agreed to let her leave then I will have to go to a small town in the Midwest US , in exactly the same situation as you but in reverse. International marriages / kids are very hard and someone almost inevitably loses. Im sorry its you but if it wasn’t, it would be the other.

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  90. Hi Kiwidad, thanks for your post on here! It’s brave with all these women! While I totally get your situation, ( and yes small town mid west America might be torture for me too) but one of the main issues here is the abuse suffered by many women in terms of the men we leave. Numerous stories on here tell about no financial support for the women from many men who hold this as a power card. This renders them not only helpless but angry too. I for one left South Africa after having no more money amd no more food in the fridge and no money from his very wealthy dad. This was not my choice, forced into this situation in order not to loose my child. Now I have lost him (for now).

    I think young adults should be enlightened about the realities of marrying a person from overseas. If I knew what I knew now…….

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    • My children’s father became involved with drugs as well. Did the courts care? No. They interpreted Hague as a kind of formula. X number of months here, Y number of months out of here. If X > Y, child stays. That was it. They didn’t want to hear about the merits. It made their job much easier, as well, which being slack Kiwis, they definitely want an easy job. I know many expat mothers who were pressured into moving to a father’s preferred home country because the mothers was bombarded and often manipulated with arguments such as it was “a better place” or “we’ll have more family support” or “it’s more fit for a family to be raised” and other concocted reasons. When you have been lured to a place a father prefers because he knows that if he can be a boulder tied to the mother’s leg long enough then he will get legal jurisdiction, then this is just fraud. It is a sneaky scheme to pin a human being down to a geographic scrap of land where the more scheming parent has the advantage. It has nothing to do with children per se. It’s a move in a big game. In a relationship where one parent has decided it will be a chess game and the other one is not aware of it yet until the disadvantage has made itself manifest, the children are victims of a fraud, nothing more. There is no place in New Zealand that compares in terms of quality of life to almost anywhere in the developed world except for war zones in urban areas like Detroit or some chav area in the UK. Not only do the Kiwi courts wear blinkers of deluded Kiwi exceptionalism, but Hague makes their job easy if they can count months in a year. Like I said, Kiwis love it when it’s easy.

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  91. Well golly. Wouldnt want the non primary carer who may not be paying for a roof over the trapped moms head or for thier child to be inconvenienced. Heaven forbid the chief sacrificer for sake of child have support or safety or her country. The midwest usa is my homeland and it beats nz on all levels. I am trapped due to a lazy deadbeat. He sacrifices n o t h i n g. To even tell grown women who do all work for kids they need permission to be home is sick and wrong. Trailing non primary non fully supportive ‘parents’ get ye to where kids have max chance at best life viz a vi the primary parents home.

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  92. Maybe the solution is to split the time between the two countries equally . So if children are for example 4 years old that leaves 14 years till they reach adulthood so 7 years in new zeal and and 7 years in the US. I know this creates additional difficulties but probably the fairest solution at least jail terms have a finite end then. Been through a similar horrible situation and after spending my life savings fighting a vindictive man I now have custody in oz whilst he is in the UK. Since it all finished I’ve been wracking my brains to see how we could sorted this out without the horrible toll.

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  93. Even as a NZ citizen, I face many of the same issues mentioned above. Having left an abusive husband during my pregnancy, I am now forced to live in Auckland, separated from my family and support networks, because the father of our 3 year old lives here. He has close to 40% contact and the battle continues. The cost over $100000 in legal fees. I have nothing left- he has plenty.

    It is a game of power and control and he has told all- he will destroy me and he will make sure our son is not part of my life. Even though orders are in place he can still text abuse, not return son- he does what he wants and the courts don’t care.

    The Family courts have swung the pendulum too far in some instances when it comes to fathers rights (respectfully there are some bad mothers out there too), but the real question we should ask our selves is “what is the right decision for our child”- Ideally children need a mother and a father but as another author wrote, we have left these relationships because of abuse of some sort. I want the best for my son, but I also believe I too have rights.

    Affidavits and court orders mean nothing at the end of the day. The determination of our lives in these situations appears to be decided by a judge who has not read the file, and depending on whether they have had baked beans or porridge for breakfast, could be favourable or not.

    No one really cares and those not in your situation do not understand, it is isolating can consume you, and ultimately tremendously sad for our children.

    I will be forced to walk away from my son too, as I simply do not want him to believe his parents fought over him, and I have a life to get on with.

    Good luck all.

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  94. My daughter had a brief relationship with a kiwi which resulted in my beautiful granddaughter, he signed the birth cert but doesn’t see her even though I keep him updated. Immigration have refused. My daughter a work visa and now I have a solicitor trying to get her a section 61 , she has got back with her english boyfriend who has his visa and there both due grandchild 2 . Could someone tell me if they refuse my daughter then is she going to be able to get a passport for my grandchild without her birth father. I’m so upset at the thought of losing my grandchild, it’s making us all ill .

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    • I assume your granddaughter was born outside New Zealand. If so, she can apply for New Zealand citizenship by descent. Just enquire at your local New Zealand embassy about the process.

      Is your daughter trying to get a work visa through your granddaughter? If so, this is somewhat more complex, but doable. Why does she want to go to New Zealand?

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  95. My to cents worth…there are two sides to all of this. …My ex wife and i met in the uk and had our first child there. She is South African, british and NZ passports, nz citizen now. I am born and bred kiwi. We moved to nz for a better life for our child, 9 months at the time. We then had another child born in nz, so 2 kids, now 6 and 8. My ex wife and i had a pretty hostile relationship and i guess it was always going to end. Anyway, it was 3 years ago we split up, and its been hell ever since. She got full custody of the kids, although thats got better and i now get them 40% of the time. She has always wanted to leave nz since we split. She hates it here and has no family here. She has alienated my family who were only to willing to help. I have let her and encouraged her to take kids on holiday back to S.A (with baited breath waiting for their return) however how can i let my children leave? Why should she be the one to take the kids away from me. Its a horrible situation i guess, but it cuts both ways. Im a loving father and i will do what ever it takes to keep the kids here in NZ. i would be heartbroken and devastated if they were to ever leave. So its not just the 1 partner who wants to leave (with kids) in desperation. There are always other considerations, like S.A being a dangerous place etc, but it comes down to the fact that we decided to live here and things changed. I feel sorry for everybody, on both sides, but just realise how the people on this side of the fence are feeling too. thanks

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    • I am pretty much in the same situation. There’s a lot of hostility on here against the fathers. A lot of bitterness. In my case, when my separation occurs, I expect to be hit with his level of animosity too. But I see it exactly the same as you: as adults we both made the decision to come here. I am sorry things didn’t work out. I am sorry my still-wife feels trapped. But I don’t understand why women (and I generalise because it seems to be quite a common thing) think the kids automatically belong to the mother, that the kids would automatically think / feel what the mother thinks / feels, and that any “decent bloke” should let the kids leave their mother’s home country? Wouldn’t the kids be devastated? I am a loving father. I don’t wish my wife anything bad, I want her to see the kids, to look after them, to be able to take them back to her home country on holiday, to be comfortable and as happy as she can be. But whilst she blames me and NZ for everything, and insists the kids are hers and that I am “going to pay”, how can I trust her to work out a reasonable agreement? There are two sides to a story – but I am not being vindictive and spiteful. I can understand my wife’s frustration and she has a difficult choice to make: leave the country or alone, or stay here. Why feel “trapped”? if the kids are the most important thing in her life, why get into a totally depressed state about it? I have a kiwi friend “trapped” in Europe but he doesn’t moan about it because he is with his boy and that matters more than anything.

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  96. Hi, that’s more than 2 cents worth and it’s such a difficult situation for you all. I’ve written on here before that I actually ended up having to leave my son in SA with his father because I lost my job, ran out of money, had no maintenance and had to leave after being badly physically attacked by strangers now Im in the UK. I think you are right, kids do not belong in SA it’s a crime ridden infested place. For my part, I am saving like mad to fight for my son to come to the UK with me, I will have to file for relocation in the SA courts. I think you must understand that its very unlikely that she would be allowed to keep your children in SA if she goes on holiday there and refuses to return….the Hague convention states clearly that this is classed as child kidnapping and more often than not children are returned to their habitual residence….however, be careful, the courts over there are still very ‘young’ ito relocation and recent reports show that the court system over there is still learning how to handle Hague cases. I think for me, although my son does want to live with me I knew that I could never make him choose between mum and dad, its the biggest mistake we can make as parents. I have sat back now and over a year my son has become more open and verbal about wanting to be with me in the UK where he experiences a freedom that has quite honestly blown him away. In essence what I am saying is that in the long run, kids will decide and choose and although its the hardest thing for us as parents we will if we truly love them, honour their choices of where they want to be when they are old enough to really verbalise what they want. In the meantime, life is hell for me but I see him every 9 weeks and my whole life is geared towards that……good luck.

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  97. hey i trying to find info on making the move i have made plans to travel and live in perth just me and my son reasons being a better environment in other words away from the father of my son he is violent and abusive towards me so much to the point i just want to leave but once he gets to see our son he trys to stop me from taking him home the relationship feel apart just after my son was born and he just turned one now he continues to show up and no matter how much i call the police and give him so much respect by still giving him visitation and nights with him i have had a messy year with my him so ive had enough ive moved to coromandel (home) different places in new Zealand and he shows up i just want to leave to Australia i know his father can not follow us because he has court cases and on going charges we both are born in new Zealand but i know he will try everything he can to stop us from leaving ive run away before but this seem more serious because ill be leaving my family here in New Zealand he is nothing but a drugged up piece of shit.

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  98. The New Zealand courts think that even a father who is a bad person is better than no father at all. Clueless as to the dysfunction that a bad person can bring to a family’s life. They buy into the idea that two parents, no matter what sort of human beings they are or how well they get along, are the magic formula for a kid doing well. They are very arrogant and smug about this attitude, like they know better. I sentence them to have to live with some of these jerk fathers they force mothers to integrate into their lives.

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  99. Yes, NZ family court has helped my ex husband keep my children and not even let me speak to them, let alone see them! My crime? Leaving a cheating man, with a legal agreement that we would share our children.

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  100. I am sure he has enough income to carry on the fight against you for years and make your stress and distress look like mental illness, not to mention the shock you surely are experiencing, of this hidden level of corruption in a country that claims it is transparent, honest and pure. Or maybe he is getting legal aid by shacking up with a girlfriend and working only part-time, like the one guy who was married to a hardworking expat friend of mine. This was brought up in court. He admitted to doing this. Made no difference to the outcome. Courts in New Zealand are – just slimy. I can’t think of any other word for them. Provincial, backlogged and slimy.

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  101. I have just come out the either side of another court hearing. The child psychologist never met me, but claimed to know so much about me. They say children will cope- the law demands equal rights.

    I can only echo what others have said. The courts don’t care, no one cares and it will take over your life to one day you wake up and see a different person..

    Even with orders that are very clear and water tight, the father still breaks them and their are no repercussions. I have had four years of abuse following leaving the father. Our son is four years old. My reality is that I will lose my son, because the father still wont stop making my life hell- its not really about the kids, its about destroying you. He tells everyone lies, his girlfriend now texts me abuse too. Never respond to the text. Never text them.

    Look after yourself, as one day the kids will decide. The fight is too hard and you are powerless under NZ law.

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    • I would contact the police, CYs. Try and get a protection order against your ex. Keep your evidences, record/ video him. If they don’t listen. Put it up online, make them listen to you.

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  102. Oh how right you are! I have four beautiful children that I raised and homeschooled until I left their lying, cheating father, now because he lied in affidavits and got a more expensive lawyer, I don’t even get to speak to my children! Time, and God, I pray – will do me right!

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  103. Anonymous – they don’t look kindly on homeschooling in Family Court. Has the stench of “outlier” to them, and you already know how narrow and cautious they are and how they define “normal” in New Zealand.

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  104. Hello. I am mom who also stuck in New Zealand like other mothers here. I have been asking the court for me and my child to visit my country for one months. My country signed for Hague convention however I still haven’t be able to visit my country with my child. I will have another court hearing soon. I would like to information or advice from other mother who are be able to visit their country with their child. I understand that relocation is hard to gain, but i believe it shouldn’t be hard to gain to visit our country with our child for one months. Any comment and advice will be appreciated. Thank you.

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  105. These comments on here break my heart. I know exactly that feeling of being completely powerless within a system where no one cares. If I was some of the mothers on here and I lived in NZ somehow Id get the money go back home with my kids and go into hiding for a year – after a year the Hague doesn’t count. Id rather that than a life of misery…..

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  106. I am a New Zealander who was stuck in Thailand. I understand everyone on this website. For certain reasons, I am unable to return to New Zealand, but I understand what everyone here is saying (I also think NZ is purgatory and mothers should be allowed to take their children anywhere they want).

    Three years ago I was accused of stealing furniture from a Thai lady. Of course, I have the receipts in my name, insurance photos, I even have the seller on my side as a witness to me purchasing the said items plus CCTV; but this is Thailand and proof doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters here is how much money I have to settle the case before they send it to court. They asked for $20,000 NZD (funny that, I only paid $800 for the dining table), and I refused knowing that I’ve got receipts so the law must be on my side.

    Unfortunately, the law was not on my side. The Thai police would receive money from the Thai lady if my case was sent to court, although they were hoping that I would ‘cave-in’ under the ‘heat’ and pay-up so they would stop harassing me before it got to the court system. Faster and cheaper for both sides.

    I decided to use my money for lawyers and translators. It did not work and the lawyers were $600 per hour (huffff that’s a heap). So I got up and left the country, changed my name and passport.

    I would like to say this, please do not despair mothers. As a Catholic I could go on about how God provides, and how we all have families; but I would really like to just give some sound-advice. That is, find everything you can that’s bad about the father (and I mean everything) then use it against him. Whether it be criminal or immoral, do what it takes to get your child home! Use your time wisely, yes it takes time. Good things always take time. But, sit down, chill, think of a plan. Look at loopholes in the law, and what things you can use against him.

    Your child has a right to see your side of the family, to know their culture, to have the freedom of travel, and if it’s necessary let the child speak. Let the child say in the court room who they prefer to be with.

    I hope everything goes well, I hope you all get to see your children where you want them to be.

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  107. Hi there
    I have heard of a parent going through the share custody at the moment. My friend is very luck to relocate after 2 yrs back to her family in the North Island. I am also having problems with my daughters father and his mother. My daughter is stuck with a relocation order on her and I’m trying to get information on how to uplift up this order.

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  108. My daughter has been kidnapped by her Father. Lawyers and Police aren’t doing anything
    She’s only a two years old. How can anyone do this? Children actually have no rights and freedom within Family Court in New Zealand. They are only there for the non custody parent. Rang the Government, all on holiday till Feb.
    Got informed to ring the MP. Getting back to me on Monday. Please write letters to the Editor of the newspapers and ring/ write letters to the Government and MP. The laws need to be change and take to the Media. I am trying to do anything in my power to bring back my daughter.

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    • The same thing happened to me, accept my son was 9 months old, had never been with his dad and “uplifted” him while I had left him with my parents. Unfortunately and whilst you don’t want to hear this, he is the father and has rights. REgardless of the type of person he is, that is NZ law. I can suggest you contact his family and ask where they are and see if they are willing to work with you. At the end of the day you will be forced to establish a contact regime and lawyers etc become very costly. It is a heartbreaking situation to be in and I do understand and feel your pain. Your daughter will be ok, and try not to think the worst as maybe his actions are a statement to say he cares and wants to be part of her life. Take care.

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  109. Unlikely and especially since your daughter is also from the UK, but you need to check your position with the English legal system. Use the argument that you are returning home to the UK from your stay in New Zealand and that your family is also in the UK. Do not renew your New Zealand passport and travel on your UK passport; your daughter should also be travelling on a UK passport. Get things arranged in the UK in preparation for your return. You need your family’s assistance with seeking out good legal advice and support for you and your daughter. All western countries do whatever it takes to cover up international parental child abduction and the father is English, so it would be difficult for him to claim child abduction since you are returning home to the UK.
    Do your homework and prepare your case and file papers back in the UK on your return immediately. Good luck.

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  110. Elizabeth I would try to investigate further. A book as follows details an English mothers struggles to leave her English partner , but this was Australia. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Let-Happen-You-Emigrating-ebook/dp/B00FV80PTM . Is your daughter an NZ citizen? As shocking as it sounds there may be issues, in Australia a child Is considered an Australian they moment they arrive on a resident or citizenship visa. Seek legal advice

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  111. I am in a similar situation as well , my ex had left my son and I while we were Australia before I decided to bring him over to new Zealand again as he consistently asked for a second chance to try make things work as a family again so silly me giving in after awhile we came back

    Things did not seem to be working out he had eventually he broke up with me and kicked me out and I had no where else to go , which left me with no choice but to leave my son with him in the meantime while I went out to found a place to stay . I eventually found a place to stay , got a income and had brought my son and I what we needed to survive but as it took months to do so and when I finally got some stability he then told me I could not have him back because in his mind he had been raising him and felt like he had the right to make all the desicion for our son.

    And now just want to go back to Australia and he won’t let our son leave the country I feel stuck as I don’t want to be here as I only came back for my son really to be with his father and now having no access to see him I feel as though I have no reason to be here. But I really do not want to leave as I am scared he will try getting full custody when I leave. Feel as though he planned this all to slowly take over our son and push me out slowly of his life . I’m only 20 and I do not know how the whole court thing goes so I haven’t really considered it. Can anybody help me I do not want to live in nz I won’t to go back to Australia but I can’t leave my son.

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    • Does your ex has any convictions/domestic abused ect? If he does, I would get CYs and police involved. The child comes back to you if you can prove them with evidences. Going through lawyers and court is messy, will take months or even years. Took my friend two years to get back to her home town. The Father sees the daughter even holidays for two weeks and no contact with the mother, not even a phone call, Skye time

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  112. I have also had a lot of problems with family court and x won’t stop doing application after application. He’s not even obey the parenting order. Doesn’t return my daughter. Lawyers have been unhelpful. Been doing my case myself. The Judge requested a report written. I don’t understand how a report written with complaints and convicted allowed to work for family court and around children! X has threaten due to my daughter having relocation.If we went out of town and he will be doing a paper at the courts. To me, there is no freedom for my daughter to do anything. Children’ will grow up with issues/problems due to family court/lawyers/report written and exs

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  113. I’m sure your daughter isn’t feeling trapped it’s just you. Yes it’s an awful situation but if you left with your daughter would it not be an equally hard situation for your daughters father?

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    • How can you be sure what her daughter feels. Many children from overseas hate being in New Zealand and find the bullying in schools very confronting. Maybe it’s time for the courts to start putting the children’s interests and feelings first.

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    • Tim, the difference is there would at least be that choice. This is not hte first time I have heard of a Kiwi father encouraging the spouse to return to NZ only to find that they are trapped in this backwater. It is a horrible thing for the mother and often the child, to deprive them of a better education and oftentimes, bette standard of living.

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  114. reply to tim, do you realise what relocation really means a child with relocation put on them cant leave that area, cant visit family that doesn’t live near that child, if they don’t live near the beach they cant even go to the beach . That child cant go on school camps, cant go on school excursions, cant become an exchange student and actually live their childhood like a normal kid. If a father was actually communicating with the other parent instead of being spiteful and dragging their child through court cos it’s the fashion and let their child live a normal life. Why cant a father let their child relocate with the mother why cant that father save up and visit their children in their new location or save up to bring them to their home for a holiday. I know of one father that allowed his children to relocate to Brisbane he has been there to visit and brings them back to n z for school holidays. One father has let his children relocate to Hamilton as that’s where his expartners family live he rings every night to talk and visits them. Fathers that do this crap of family court ad relocation are obviously not grown up adults yet

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    • Unfortunately one will always come across narcissistic people: fathers, mothers, lawyers and judges. The Family Court is set up to feed lawyers, administrators and not least judges. Certainly not for the children. The Family Court also offers the morally vacant protection from criticism. If you start to expose any error in the system you will find that a mixture of stupidity and administrative bullying will be used to fatigue you into giving up or to bring on a coronary. My ex kidnapped both our children and then hung the label of ADHD around our little girl’s neck getting Ritalin administered by a foolish doctor in my opinion. This has since been reversed by the Family Court in New Zealand only to protect the Court and not our daughter. In the end parental alienation is allowed to do its work for the Family Court and the other parent either accepts this or goes mad. Once you are up against narcissistic people you should run because the fight will ruin you. Make no mistake, it is about your destruction; the children are there as pawns in your ruin. To the narcissist, negotiation and compromise is a loss for them; that is, failure on their part. Your downfall gives them comfort that their animosity is in some way justified. The narcissist has demons of insecurity which cannot be allowed to ever surface. The Family Court is packed with people who deep down are failures, so think what that means for the good person coming into this cesspool of human insecurity!

      I have moved on and God has blessed me for that move….

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      • How did you move on? Did you let go of custody and access to your child? I am considering the wisdom of letting go of my son because the conflict of several years is sapping all my energy to the point of deep despair.
        Regards, Clare

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  115. Hi,
    I don’t know if you’ll see this reply but I too met an Australian in England, we came to Aus, our relationship was very whirl wind, I fell pregnant with my daughter end of 2007 and came back to England after him bringing a French girl back to our house when he was on yet another night out. I came straight home. He followed me after 2 months carrying on being with other people while I was in England begged for us to return after she was born and how we can make it work starting again ect. I stupidily agreed. Once we were back in aus everything with our relationship fell appart i went home for 8 months it was quite a hard time but again thought it would be upto me to ensure my daughter had relationship with him still nieve to the fact the law can force you to stay , by that point she was 2. I always wanted her to have relationship with Her father but never realised I would have to forcefully stay here. I’ve been able to go back for visits, now is agreed every second year for 6 weeks but I also feel very trapped with no say about my life. We have huge support in England but I have to do everything by myself here and it gets hard being away from our family. I stupidily thought he would do it fairly as he has English passport and spend some time there too even if for 5 years. My life is totally wrapped around what he is ok with, if he wants to move, he can. If he stays in this small town forever the law here expects the mother to sacrifice everything to make it easy for the father. I really don’t get it. Both parents in this situation should both go through sacrifice to both be there for thier child. But I feel the foreigner gets treated like a prisoner he even wants me now to keep her passport locked in a bank safe with him signing it out., even after iv been told the uk will send liv back if I go without saying, something that iv never done., I feel it’s all a controll freak thing. I don’t know what to do. I have embraced and made as much of a life here as I can and believe my daughter does benefit from having us both but the law here is very one sided it was the father who also messed up and should also commit time away in her child hood to make it fair. But no the woman has to be in a completely different culture, away from family and friends with no say to where she wants to be. It’s so un balanced. The main response is you are lucky it’s hot here! Would love to hear what happens in jan!!

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  116. I have been involved in an on going custody case for the past four years. My daughters fathers name was not put on the birth certificate as he denied the fact she was even his until she was 10 months old when he decided to take me to court.

    During that period of time he has been charged for burglaring my house, he has Brocken into my house and attempted to kidnap me, he has been charged with MAF against me and the court will still not accept my pleas to have him have no contact with her.

    Her lawyer for child has never met with her and Is adamant I should condone contact with her father.
    My lawyer does not support my decision of no contact and has now resigned from my case.

    What breaks my heart is that this is just one situation and I do not want to imagine what other parents are forced to go through.

    Lawyer for child and my lawyer believes I should allow supervised visits because she is not at risk.. Not taking into consideration the emotional and mental damage that potentially exposes her to.

    All I am trying to do is what is right for my daughter by keeping her away from violence only to have the safety of her ripped away by the NZ court. 😔

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  117. I have been searching the web for a long time trying to find answers and advice, but it has not been easy as New Zealand laws are different and all I could find was other countries laws.
    This comment thread has been so helpful and a few ladies are going through the same awful experience as I am with my children’s selfish and manipulative father.

    If my ex and I never went to court and none of us have legel full custody of the children, can he up and move without telling me the location and address, change phone numbers and schools? Everything in his power to hide them from me.

    This is what he has done, because I couldn’t get the time off work to make the monthly visit and has stated in a text message it is to “protect” the girls from me hurting them emotionally.

    To me this is kidnapping?
    He will not let me have contact with them until I set up an appt with mediation (to me he wants everything done legelly and i refuse to sign them over to him).

    This man could not care less about his children the 8 years of our relationship, I did the raising. He feeds off what others think of him, the type of man that doesn’t like to loose THIS IS WHY HE HAS THEM…because they make him look good and uses them as a weapon when someone doesn’t agree with him.

    His police record is flying through the roof, he abused me physically and mentally, I was afraid to dob him in. My lawyer is hopeless, she is not helpful at all.

    The man is a criminal and has made himself look like Gods gift of the world.

    Id love to get some advice on what to do here?
    Get police involved? A new lawyer?
    Go to mediation and be made out to be a horrible person ?

    Im driving myself crazy, my children need me!!

    Like

    • I have no idea how lawyers and all that work. Can anyone offer advice?

      He shouldn’t be able to just vanish with your children if he doesn’t have full custody. It could be he assumes you don’t know how things work and won’t make any attempt to report him. I say get a new lawyer and prove him wrong.

      Like

    • Ally,
      You can get an Order Preventing Removal of Child in NZ from the family court. Go to the court house, ask for the form and fill it out there and then and hand it over to be seen by a judge. If your ex was physically abusive, bring evidence of this (restraining order/abuse prevention order). Explain why you are afraid – Does he have the children’s passports? Has he been talking about leaving? Does he have family overseas he wants to take them to “visit”? etc.
      Unless he has a court order granting him sole custody, you have a right to see your children.
      GET A NEW LAWYER ASAP if the one you have is not taking you seriously.
      Go to a Women’s Centre or AVIVA and tell them what is going on. Make this your priority, even if you have to quit your job.
      All the best.

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  118. I married a Kiwi and moved to NZ but didn’t quite appreciate that marrying someone and moving to their country involves taking on a Country’s belief system. There are ingrained beliefs. Greatest place to bring up kids, Clean and green, Safest Country, Special people, etc etc. Over time I could see a lot of evidence to the contrary and observed the cult like abuse of anyone who offers a contrary opinion and isn’t “one of us”, so easiest to keep my thoughts to myself and get one with it. Everywhere has pros and cons and maybe it wouldn’t matter where you moved you are expected to fall in line to a certain level. It was interesting to stumble upon this website and see that there other people who have similar observations. I can only imagine the difficulties that some people go through once their relationship is over.

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  119. Hi all I am a kiwi but live in Australia I have to boys who one was born here and one in nz we lived their with their father for 2yrs nd life didnt go to plan so I moved myself nd my sons to Australia without the father knowing we have been here for 8yrs now and have no contact with him but what I’m wanting to know is if I was to take them to nz for a holiday will he be able to stop me coming back to Australia as this is where they have been brought up?

    Like

    • Annemarie, it may depend under what circumstances the children left and whether their father is still looking for them. If you took them to Australia without his consent you may find they’re still considered to be residents of New Zealand. Why risk it by taking them back?

      Like

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