Snyder v Hardy [2020] NZFC 11091

Published 30 April 2021

Application to endorse agreement — relocation — contact arrangements — jurisdiction of court — Care of Children Act 2004, ss 46G, 77(3)(b), 92 & 93. This hearing was to determine whether the Court should endorse an agreement reached between the parties as to the care of their daughter, and whether that order could be registered with an overseas court. The respondent was a Canadian citizen who had met the applicant while in New Zealand on a work visa. They had entered into a relationship and had a child together, but subsequently split up. The respondent was unable to obtain residency and wished to return to Canada with the parties' daughter. The applicant had initially been opposed to this and had sought an order from the Court preventing the removal of the child from New Zealand. Following counselling, the parties had reached an agreement that the child would relocate to Canada with her mother and that visits and calls with the applicant father were scheduled in. Both parties consented to the order endorsing the agreement, which provided New Zealand as the court of jurisdiction and made provision in the event that the child was withheld from the other party, being registered with the Family Court in Canada. Sections 92 and 93 of the Care of Children Act provide for the enforcement of New Zealand orders overseas (s 92) and the jurisdiction required to make a request (s 93). On further research into the matter, it became apparent that the New Zealand Family Court did not have jurisdiction to order the registration of the parenting order in the Family Court in Canada. The only prescribed overseas country for this was Australia and each of its states and territories separately. Given this, the enforcement provisions of the parenting order would need to be relied on if the issue of enforcement arose in the future. The Judge discharged the order preventing removal of the child from New Zealand, and granted the mother's application to relocate the child to Canada. A parenting order was made as per the parenting agreement reached between the parties. An order was also made releasing the child's passport from the Court and that lawyer for child was to continue acting until the departure of the child and mother. Judgment Date: 14 December 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *