Padhya v Padhya  NZFC 12153
Published 04 February 2022
Guardianship dispute — COVID-19 pandemic — oversea travel — Care of Children Act 2004, ss 5, 16, 46R, 133 & 139 — NCR v BGL Family Court Hastings FAM-2002-20-517, 4 November 2005.
The applicant in the case sought the Court's permission to travel to India with her young son to visit her terminally-ill father. The respondent, the child's father, opposed the application, citing the dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as air pollution and an outbreak of dengue fever. He also worried that to allow the application would mean the child missing approximately a month's worth of school and possibly having to spend a period in MIQ on his return to New Zealand. The child was not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.
The Court discounted the respondent's concerns about pollution and dengue fever; both risks were endemic to Delhi, and the parties had agreed that the child could travel there. However although COVID outbreaks in India were relatively contained, the Court observed that the pandemic was highly unpredictable and the child could face difficulties in returning to New Zealand. By contrast the child would be safe in the care of the respondent and he would be able to keep in contact with his mother while she was away. The Court found that the child's welfare and best interests would be served by staying in New Zealand. The application was declined.
Judgment Date: 1 December 2021
* * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *