Shared custody and childcare

Guidance for parents, carers and whānau on shared parenting arrangements, childcare and using childcare providers during the different Alert Levels.

Childcare at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, shared parenting arrangements can continue as normal.

You can also use childcare services, get a babysitter or nanny to come into your home, or take your tamariki (children) to a friend or family member's home so they can be looked after.

If anyone is unwell, including you, your child or the babysitter, they should stay home and call their GP or Healthline for advice.

Childcare at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2, shared parenting arrangements can continue.

You can also use continue to use home-based childcare services such as babysitters or nannies and provide informal childcare, for example looking after a grandchild.

Friends and whānau do not need to physically distance at home, and you can connect with people outside of your household.

Schools, kura and early learning services are open.

Education at Alert Level 2

Travelling for parenting purposes

If you and your child's other parent live in separate homes but take turns to look after your children (tamariki), you can continue to do this. Your tamariki (children) can travel to other regions so they can move between their parents' or caregiver's homes.

If you or your child are unwell or have been asked to self-isolate, please stay home. 

Legal advice and Family Court

Lawyers can continue to provide legal advice during Alert Level 2.

Legal aid services will still be available. You can find a list of legal aid lawyers on the Ministry of Justice website.

Find a legal aid lawyer (external link)

If you're on a benefit or have a low income, you may be eligible for help from a Community Law Centre. Community law centres are free, and there are clinics all around the country.

Find a community law clinic near you (external link)

If you have a dispute on shared parenting, the Family Court may be able to help you.

Information about Family Court services under Alert Level 2 (external link)

If you were doing Family Dispute Resolution check with your provider. These services will be available under Alert Level 2 but the way they are delivered may change, including doing some of the programme by phone or online.

You can call 0800 268 787 if you need other information about Family Court.

Childcare at Alert Level 3

At Alert Level 3, tamariki (children) can travel between their parents' or caregiver's home under a shared custody arrangement. 

Only travel if you need to. We recommend keeping a copy of your court order or parenting arrangement with you to help explain your travel.

Use private vehicles where possible. You can use public transport if there is no other option.

If the child's other parent or guardian lives in a different region, you cannot travel if the region is at a different alert level. 

If your tamariki (children) cannot have face to face contact with their other parent, try and maintain regular contact virtually, for example WhatsApp or FaceTime.

Do not travel if you or your child are unwell. 

Make sure children are safe and cared for

If you or your child are worried for your safety due to violence or abuse, you have a right to ask for help.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 111.

Or if it is safe to do so, you can contact Safe to Talk for help 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

Call 0800 044 334 or text 4334.

Other free helplines you can call.

If you know a child who has been separated from their parents or caregivers, contact Oranga Tamariki.

Call 0508 326 459, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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