The Court will not assume that any person is better suited to have day-to-day care of a child, simply because of their gender, regardless of the child’s age. 

The reality is that in New Zealand it is still more common for women to assume the primary carer role compared to men.  This often means that a mother may be practically better suited to assume day-to-day care (for instance because she is working part-time or not at all, and the child is accustomed to a particular caregiver). 

However, where possible, it is preferable for children to have equal time with both their mother and their father and for the day-to-day care to be shared. 

The Court will not condone a mother preventing a father from having a relationship with his child, unless there is good reason to do so and it is in the child’s best interest (for instance the father has substance abuse issues which makes it unsafe for the child to be in their care).

The Court will equally not condone a father taking a child away from their mother unless it is in the child’s best interest to do so. 

More often than not, where one person is not able to assume care of a child, the Court will still order supervised contact.

You can read more about Parenting Orders, what day-to-day care and contact means, or how the Court decides what welfare and best interest means, by clicking on the links.

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Gender Equality
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