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Guardianship Submissions Due Soon

The Associate Minister of Justice, Margaret Wilson, is urging people with an interest in guardianship issues to get submissions in on the government's discussion paper. The deadline is the end of this month.

The paper deals with the legal framework for children whentheir parents separate, including the procedures of the family court. The paper is available from the Ministry of Justice, Box 180 Wellington and can be seen at www.justice.govt.nz

The government believes that the Guardianship Act no longer provides a satisfactory legal framework to deal with the diverse range of familes that are now part of the fabric of New Zealand society.

Ms Wilson says the language of the present law is couched in terms more appropriate to property. Words such as "guardianship", "custody" and "access" have overseas been replaced by words such as "parental responsibility" "residence" and "parenting plans".

"The government wants to ensure that legislation reflect the centrality of the interests of the child in matters of guardianship. We intend, also, to support parents in continuing to be loving and supportive parents after separation".

The Ministry of Justice will analyse and summarise submissions on this discussion document and identify issues. On the basis of the identification of those issues the government will assess present practices and policies and look at what new policies are needed.

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