The Family Court has appointed a man as a guardian of a child after he applied to the Court for a guardianship order.

The man had signed a sperm donor agreement with a woman. This agreement stated that custody of the child would stay with the mother, but provided that the man would have some involvement in the child’s life. The man was also given the right to choose the child’s middle name through the agreement.

The relationship between the pair broke down shortly after the birth of the child. The mother was unhappy with the arrangement, as the father strongly expressed a desire to introduce the baby to his whānau and was inconsistent in his visits to the child.

The longest gap between visits was a 6-month period during the Covid-19 pandemic where there was no contact between the man and the child.

The man decided to apply for guardianship after the woman failed to uphold parts of the agreement and because he wanted to further the child’s involvement in his culture. The woman opposed the application stating that the man hadn’t considered the child’s developmental concerns regarding the inconsistency of his visits.

The judge stated that she was required to consider the familial, cultural and community matters which are tied to the child’s Māori identity. She stated that a failure to recognise tikanga in her assessment would be a failure to recognise the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

It was decided that appointing the man as a guardian would advance the child’s welfare and best interests and would serve to promote the child’s cultural and familial bond.

In deciding on care arrangements, it is critical to put the welfare of the child first. If there is confusion around this, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.