Family Law

Family Law

Personal relationships and their breakdown can lead to some of life's most difficult and distressing changes. At such time competence and compassion are essential in your legal advisors.

We are acutely aware of the pressures and emotional distress that can arise at these difficult times. We pride ourselves in our ability to assist our clients at the time of their greatest need.

Why Choose Turner Hopkins

  • Our highly regarded family law team has a vast degree of ability and experience in all areas of family law.
  • As part of a full service firm we can advise on and finalise all aspects of your relationship property settlement including property transfers, trusts, estate planning and other issues as they arise.
  • Our team members appear in various Family Courts throughout Auckland and beyond on a regular basis. We are familiar with Court processes and procedures and what it takes to maximise your chances of success.
  • While we do not offer Legal Aid we offer the most cost effective service possible to our clients.

The Areas We Cover


We can ensure that all stages of the adoption process run smoothly so that you can concentrate on and enjoy your new family member.

We get enquiries from blended families where one party wishes to formalise their relationship with their new partner's child through adoption. We can advise on what other solutions, including guardianship, may work best for you and the child.

Care of children

If you are a parent of a child or children under the age of 16 and existing care arrangements are not satisfactory we can advise you on how to change and formalise arrangements either by voluntary written agreement or through the Family Court.

Child support

Many non-custodial parents pay child support through the IRD while others enter into a private arrangement with the custodial parent. We can advise as to which method will work best for you. We can also, in appropriate circumstances, assist you to make an application for a departure order whereby the amount stipulated by the IRD is adjusted to better meet your circumstances or make an application to the Family Court to appeal the Commissioner's decision.


Provided the necessary information and documentation can be supplied, you have been separated for two years and one party is domiciled in New Zealand we can efficiently prepare and arrange for service of dissolution applications whether the parties are based in New Zealand or overseas.

Domestic violence

Whether you are the victim of domestic violence or the party accused of committing violence it is essential that you receive competent legal advice as to the options available to you and the ramifications of a Protection Order being made. Our family law team has extensive experience in this area of practice.

Family protection

The law provides for a number of potential forms of relief for people who may otherwise be denied their legal entitlements when a close family member or a person who has made a promise to make provision in their Will has died. We have developed a compassionate and common sense approach to deal with cases of this nature, acting for both claimants and respondents.


In most cases the natural parents of a child are his or her guardians. Guardianship decisions involve more holistic concepts than just day‑to‑day care such as a child's place of residence, schooling, medical welfare and religion. The most common guardianship applications include those to do with schooling and relocation and Turner Hopkins can assist you with these applications. We can help you better understand these concepts and make the appropriate application to the Family Court under the Care of Children Act.

There may also be occasions where a new partner, grandparents or other people with a close relationship with a child wish to apply to be joined as an additional guardians and again we are able to advise upon and assist with those applications.

Prenuptial agreements

It is our strong recommendation to clients who are the owners of any property at the time of commencing a de facto relationship or getting married to consider entering into a contracting out agreement to protect their property. We specialise in tailor-making agreements to suit the needs of you and your partner or spouse.


If you have separated, or are considering separation, and do not have a contacting out agreement in place we can provide clear and practical advice regarding your relationship property entitlements.


Relocation cases are invariably difficult and distressing for those involved as they are premised on a child being removed from their current place of domicile and therefore have the potential to disrupt existing care arrangements. Relocation applications require careful thought. We can assist you to put forward your strongest possible case to increase your chances of success.


Such applications require particular sensitivity as they go to the core of the identity of the child and have consequences in a number areas such as parenting and child support. We can advise on your options as well as preparing the necessary court applications.

Proctection Acts

When an adult is incapacitated it may become necessary for others to make decisions for him or her regarding their welfare or property and, where no Enduring Powers of Attorney exist, an order under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act may be necessary. We can advise as to the appropriateness of a potential application to the Family Court, what your ongoing commitments will be and how the process works. We can also prepare the necessary documents to ensure that the application moves through court process as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Spousal maintenance

We can advise what type of maintenance you may qualify for, including quantum and duration of payment, and make the necessary court applications for you.

See Also

What Turner Hopkins Offers

  • A friendly and sympathetic approach.
  • Practical and cost effective advice.
  • An understanding of Family Courts procedure.
  • Access to the latest in research.
  • A team approach so that there is always someone here to assist you.