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How to Deal With Family, Safety and Personal Matters During Uncertain Times - What we can do to Help

How to Deal With Family, Safety and Personal Matters During Uncertain Times - What we can do to Help

Written by:
Alissa Bell

The Covid-19 Delta Variant Lockdown has created uncertainty and anxiety for many and has significantly impacted family dynamics, particularly in Auckland where Alert Level 4 is still ongoing. It is important to remember that help is available and at McVeagh Fleming, we are working remotely to provide you with an array of family law services. Our team have a range of experience and can provide pragmatic advice, tailored to your personal situation.

Family Violence

Additional information relating to family violence has been provided by Prime Minster, Jacinda Arden. Family violence services remain operational under Alert Level 4 as essential services. Importantly, if you are experiencing family violence or are unsafe in your bubble, you may leave to a place of safety. The Family Court are operating electronically, and as lawyers, we can provide assistance if any urgent documentation relating to safety needs to be filed such as Without Notice Protection Orders and Parenting Orders. If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence and are in need of safety, calling 111 should be the first port of call. Family violence service provider such as Shine and Women's Refuge also remain open to facilitate safe accommodation and support.

Care of Children and Separation

We provide advice on care of children and contact, along with disputes between guardians which include decisions relating to a child's medical needs such as receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, travel, education, religion, identity and culture. The New Zealand Government has issued guidance in relation to shared care and contact arrangements during Alert Level 4 and other Alert levels. We remain up-to-date with these guidelines and can provide you with assistance if you have any concerns or if you need further information on how these guidelines apply to you and your children.

Relationship Property

Upon entering a relationship, parties may wish to enter into an agreement to give certainty as to the status of your respective assets and liabilities and division of relationship property if separation were to occur. People often call these "pre-nups" but they can apply whether you are married or in a de facto relationship. We are able to attend on you to discuss your needs, draft these agreements, and even attend on you to execute them by remote means over lockdown. We also provide clients with advice on division of assets and liabilities under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 which govern the allocation of separate and joint property if you have separated or are considering separation. Our advice is tailored specifically to your relationship in a way in which you both understand how the law applies to you and what your entitlements are. Again, we are able to attend on you in all respects of this process remotely during lockdown.

Estate Matters

Ensuring that legal measures are in place to protect your personal welfare and property if something should happen to you is beneficial for both yourself and your loved ones and these uncertain times can serve as a reminder to start thinking about such things. McVeagh Fleming is able to provide advice on all aspects of estate planning, matters relating to trusts, enduring powers of attorney, Will preparation etc. We also advise on claims relating to testamentary promises and administration issues relating to intestacy. It is important to note that some estate claims have time limits that apply, so we would certainly not recommend waiting until lockdown has ended before seeking advice in that regard.


If you are considering adopting a child either internationally or domestically, we have a vast amount of experience in this area and can guide you through the law which governs this process and the impact of the current travel restrictions in respect of international arrangements.

IVF and surrogacy

For some New Zealanders assisted reproduction plays a major role in expanding or starting a family in a way that best suits their needs. Due to strong ethical and regulatory requirements, surrogacy is a complex area of the law and legal advice should be sought. For children surrogated overseas but commissioned by New Zealand citizens, the commissioning parents are required to adopt the child under New Zealand law. Border restrictions have created a delay in internationally surrogated children obtaining the appropriate documentation to enter New Zealand. Therefore new protocols have been issued by Principal Family Court Judge Moran to assist with this process, which we can provide further guidance on.  

If you are in need of our legal services, please contact the family law partner, Alissa Bell at During Alert Level 4, our services are provided via phone, Zoom, Skype or any other online conference platform.

See our Expertise pages

Separation and Divorce

Care of Children

Domestic Violence

Relationship Property

© McVeagh Fleming 2021

This article is published for general information purposes only.  Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.

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