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Prisoner's rights


If you’re under 18

I’m pregnant and I want to move into a flat with my partner. Can my parents stop me?

Care of Children Act 2004, ss 28 and 50

If you are under 16, you can only leave home if your parents agree and they organise things to make sure you are cared for – for example, housing, clothing, food and medical care.

Once you have turned 16 you don’t need your parents’ permission to leave home (although your parents will still be your legal guardians until you are 18).

If they are worried about how you are living, they could apply to the court for an order saying that you must move home or live somewhere else. This would only be in a serious situation and the court does not normally make orders for someone who is 16 or older.

Can I get any financial support if I don’t live with my parents?

You might be able to get some financial help from Work and Income. There are payments called the Youth Payment or the Young Parent Payment. To be able to get those payments you need to be married, in a civil union, or a de facto relationship. See the section ”Guardianship” for definitions

You can also prove to Work and Income that exceptional circumstances mean your parents can’t support you.

What can I take with me when I leave home?

  • Personal clothing and toiletries
  • Anything you have bought with your own money
  • Anything that has been given to you as a gift
  • Personal documents like schools reports, your birth certificate and your IRD documents
  • Anything your parents have agreed you can take.

Can I sign a tenancy agreement if I’m under 18?

Yes, but it might be difficult to find a landlord who will rent a flat to you without the support of your parents or another adult. Your parents can sign tenancy agreements as “guarantors” which means they will have to pay if you can’t pay rent or if there is any damage to the property.

Next Section | If you're renting

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Pregnancy Rights

A basic, plain language guide that contains practical answers to questions about pregnancy and the law. It covers sex and consent, options after a positive pregnancy test, what help you can get with school, work, and parenting and more. Pregnancy Rights is written for young pregnant people, their whānau and advocates.

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