The current alert level 4 lockdown means some shared parenting arrangements can continue where there is a “shared bubble”.  If a shared bubble is not possible or too high risk, the shared care arrangement may not be able to continue.  

What is a ‘shared bubble’?

A shared bubble is:

  • Two households only; and
  • All adults in the households consent to the shared care arrangement; and
  • The households are in the same or adjacent districts.

Unfortunately, shared bubbles consisting of more than two households are not permitted at alert level 4.  

If creating a shared bubble is not possible, alternative contact should be provided, for instance via video calls or telephone calls.

How can children travel between households in a shared bubble?

When children are moving between homes, the following measures are recommended to minimise the risk of spreading the virus:

  • Children should be accompanied by an adult when moving between homes;
  • Private vehicles should be used, where possible;
  • Public transport can be used where there are no alternatives; and
  • Personal hygiene measures should be observed (for example, staying at least two meters away from other travellers, wearing masks and gloves, using hand sanitiser and frequent handwashing).

Parties are also advised to keep with them a copy of a parenting order or parenting agreement to explain why they are travelling.

What if someone in the shared bubble get ill, develops symptoms of Covid-19, or is a close contact with someone who does, or may, have Covid-19?

Parties are advised that children should not travel between homes in the following circumstances:

  • children are unwell;
  • someone in either home is unwell;
  • someone in either home has been overseas in the last 14 days;
  • someone in either home is currently being tested, or has tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • someone in either home has been in close contact with someone who has, or is, currently being tested for COVID-19.

Tips for parents and caregivers:

Make sure that you keep the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults in mind.

Try to be flexible and cooperative so that children can continue to have contact with important adults and siblings in their lives. 

If you cannot agree on what to do, Family Disputes Resolution (mediation or FDR) is still available via phone or video call. 

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

We are set up to help you remotely by telephone or video call.


Please note that Rainey Collins is not contracted to provide Legal Aid, other than in the Treaty of Waitangi area.  We therefore are unable to take on any Civil or Family Legal Aid work. If you require Legal Aid in those areas, you can search the list of Legal Aid lawyers on the Ministry of Justice website.