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

  1. Never give up a child to try to appease a destructive other parent. I have been dragged into 13 years trapped in oz in merciless aituation due to psychopathic ex husband. I will fight another 100 yrs to protect my children from a monster. I gave up my homeland and my family against my will, my career and a love of my life. And I will never let the turkey think he won. He most certainly wont wear me into giviing up my children. He doesnt want them he just wants to destroy me. Family law allows him to do so. Over my dead body…

    • NZ laws are absurd. My ex was able to walk away with over $1M because of the F’ed up NZ laws. It bankrupted me. There is NO good reason to take your kids to NZ. Crime is high, school quality is low and intelligence is a liability.

      I am sorry for your experience.

  2. Here is one resource. https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=globalarrk%3A%20action%20on%20relocation%20%26%20return%20with%20kids.%20expat%20stuck%20parent.
    If she is trying to relocate permanently, it will be a long battle. If she just wants to leave for a couple weeks, that’s different. She certainly shouldn’t sign a flawed settlement agreement just for that. Maybe get the court to authorize a quick trip to the UK. The courts are slow and busy though… it would be cheaper to have you come to NZ. But I don’t know why anyone would want to come to this stupid country.

  3. My daughter has separated from her partner (not married) living in nz. Eldest child was born in the uk other 2 in nz She wants to bring children to uk to see family …and us…grandparents. they are locked in financial support problem and he has threatened her with abduction claims if she tries to take them to uk unless she signs lawyers agreement over settlement. She will have no pension as she stayed home for 10 years to bring up the kids so she needs the extra settlement to live on in later life! Any help out there …..its so very very sad……thanks nz.

  4. Does anyone have good lawyer recommendations for international relocation cases? Auckland or Wellington.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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!!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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. 😔

  9. 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!!

  10. 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

    • 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….

      • 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

  11. 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?

    • 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

    • 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    • 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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…..

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

    • 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. Nz law is shit they are all for the father these days even if they lie through there teeth to make them look good

  28. 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.

    • catch a boat right now before he takes out an order on you not to leave the country. He’ll do it – and he’ll get it respected in court no matter how bad a turd he is. I see it all the time.

  29. 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.

  30. 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

    • If you are a loving Father. Set up an agreement for you to visit them overseas and fly them back on school holidays.

    • 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.

  31. 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 .

    • 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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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