Shared care & contact arrangements at Level 3

Article Published : 29.04.2020

At 11:59pm on 27 April 2020 New Zealand moved from Covid-19 alert level 4 to Covid-19 alert level 3 for an initial period of 2 weeks.

At Level 4 saw the need for many separated parents to make new and flexible day-to-day care arrangements for their child or children who move between two homes. In some circumstances at level 4 there was a need for children to remain in one home for the entirety of the lockdown period.Many families are now asking whether the move from level 4 to level 3 will change the care/contact arrangements that were implemented during level 4.

In summary:

  • At level 3 children are able to move between households/ bubbles under a parenting arrangement, in the same way they were able to do so at level 4, unless the child is unwell, someone in either home is unwell or someone involved in the child’s care (or in the home the child will be in/go to) has been overseas in the last 14 days or is being tested for or has Covid-19. If any of these circumstances are present then children should remain in one home until it is safe to return to the normal care arrangements.
  • Bubbles can be extended at level 3 to enable people to reconnect with close family members who live nearby as long as bubbles remain exclusive. If a parent’s or child’s bubble is being extended then parents should communicate with each other about this to ensure that child’s bubble is not extended more than is absolutely necessary to give effect to the parenting arrangements.
  • Children are, if necessary, able to move between different regions to have contact with their parent who lives in a different area at alert level 3. However, travel should be kept to a minimum.  If parents and children need to travel then parents are encouraged to have a copy of their parenting order or agreed parenting arrangements with them during travel.
  • Parenting arrangements should return to normal to the greatest extent that is possible.  Families may however still need to be flexible in the arrangements that they make throughout level 3. All decisions made by parents during this time should be in the welfare and best interests of the child or children and parents should continue to take into consideration that the reason why we are in level 3 is to stop the spread of the virus.


Whilst our physical office is closed Malley & Co continue to operate remotely “business as usual”. If you require advice concerning any family law matter during this time, please feel free to get in touch with a member of our family law team.

Sarah White

Colleen Moore

Amy Bayliss

Rachel Haythornthwaite


Article by Rachel Haythornthwaite

Rachel joined Malley & Co in 2017 after graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts.

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