Kruger v Winkel [2017] NZFC 6923

Published 02 October 2017

Reserved judgment — application for an order for the return of a child — abduction — international abduction — whether child is settled — deportation liability notice — immigration status — concealment — concealment by omission — Hague Convention on the Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction — Care of Children Act 2004, s 106. The father asked the court to return a child to Germany. The child had been brought to New Zealand by the mother following a German court ordering the child be placed in the custody of the father. The court took into account the child's views, whether she was settled in New Zealand, and whether her return to Germany would create a grave risk that she would be exposed to psychological harm. The court found that no weight could be put on the immigration status in regards to determining whether the child was settled, as it concerned future possibilities rather than actual realities or certainties. The court also took into account the mother's concealment by omission in regards to the child's custody status and found that the mother had actively concealed the change of school and change of residence from the father. The court noted that the concealment by the mother was a significant issue which impacted on the decision as to whether or not to exercise it's discretion. The court declined to make an order for the child's return as the child was settled in New Zealand and having considered the child's views, despite the strong policy considerations that the order be made. Judgment Date: 1 September 2017. * * * Note: Names have been changed to comply with legal requirements * * *