Registering New Zealand Family Law Orders in Australia

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Family Law orders made in New Zealand courts are not immediately enforceable in Australian courts or against Australian property. This can create a tricky situation for those of us who have property in both New Zealand and Australia. Fortunately, if you have an Order from a New Zealand court that deals with Australian property or that you need to be enforceable in an Australian court, with the help of a lawyer, there is a relatively straight forward process for ‘registering’ your NZ order in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia so that it becomes enforceable as an Australian Order.

To register your NZ order, you will need to make an application under section 67 and 68 of the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 (‘TTPA’):

68  Registration of NZ judgments

(1)  An Australian court must, on application under section 67, register a registrable NZ judgment in that court in accordance with this Part.

(2)  Once registered, the judgment remains registered unless the registration is set aside under section 72.

Note also the ‘application requirements’ for making the application under section 67 and in particular that the application must be made within 6 years of the last judgment in the proceedings:

Application requirements

             (5)  An application under this section must be made:

                     (a)  in the form (if any) prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (b)  in accordance with the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (c)  within:

                              (i)  6 years after the day on which the judgment is given; or

 (ii)  if there have been proceedings by way of appeal against the judgment—6 years after the day of the last judgment in those proceedings; or

(iii)  if, before or after the period referred to in subparagraph (i) or (ii), the entitled person applies to the Australian court for a longer period—any longer period the Australian court considers appropriate.

(6)  Without limiting paragraph (5)(b), regulations made for the purposes of that paragraph may prescribe that specified documents be filed:

                     (a)  in a specified way; and

                     (b)  with, or within a specified time after the filing of, the application.

Once registered the NZ orders have the same force an effect as Australian orders (Section 74 TTPA).

The procedure for making an application, in summary, is as follows:

  1. Obtain a copy of the NZ orders.
  2. Draft an application per the pro forma provided in Schedule 1 of the TTPA (Form 5).
  3. Post the application and a copy of the NZ order to your nearest FCFCOA registry.
  4. Pay the filing fee.
  5. Once the orders have been registered, provide the other effected parties notice that the order has been registered within 15 working days of registration. Draft the notice per the pro forma provided in Schedule 1 of the TTPA (Form 6).

For more information about procedure for enforcement applications under the TTPA, refer to the court’s Family Law Practice Direction – Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act proceedings.

For more information about enforcing foreign judgments in Australia generally, see our other article Enforcing foreign judgments in Australia.

Want to know more on registering New Zealand Family Law Orders in Australia?

If you’d like to know more, please contact our team of experienced family lawyers today.

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