How to File for Divorce in New Zealand

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Whether because of financial disputes, changes in lifestyle, marital unfaithfulness or a breakdown of intimacy, many marriages do not last the hardships that life brings. When spouses agree that this is the case, there is a legal protocol to follow. According to the New Zealand government, 1 percent of marriages in their nation end in divorce. New Zealand puts great effort into preserving the rights of parents and children in the divorce process.

Consider your options. Family Court of New Zealand offers free counseling to couples who are experiencing marital problems. The confidential service sets couples up with a therapist who can provide an outside perspective and possibly bring peace to a hostile relationship. The service is recommended before filing a separation agreement.

Fill out a separation agreement. A two-year separation is necessary to prove irreconcilable differences, which is the only reason the Family Court of New Zealand recognizes as grounds for divorce. This means the husband and wife must live in separate homes for two years. While the legal agreement of separation is not required in the divorce process, it covers topics such as property agreements and day-to-day care, which could come in handy later in the process should there be continued disagreements. During the two years you and your partner are separated you may live in the same household for three months maximum.

Apply for a Dissolution Order. The form can be found online and filled out by one spouse or both. In most cases the separated couple will not have to appear in court for the dissolution of marriage to be approved. However, if a one-party application is filled out vs. a joint application signed by both members, there is a greater chance both parties will have to appear in court. During this process it will be necessary to have a copy of your marriage certificate.

Provide plans for the children. In the Care of Children Act of 2004 the New Zealand government recognized it is more natural and healthy for parents to decide what will become of the children in case of divorce. If this information cannot be agreed upon, the family will have to fill out a parenting order and attend family court. Along with the parents, the child will have a significant say in his future.

File the application. Take the filled-out application to your local office. A fee of $175 (New Zealand dollars) will be required. Bring your original marriage certificate.