Judith Collins has announced:
“Our reforms will ensure the Family Court renews its focus towards those who need it most. The Court must put the needs of children first, rather than those of private couples with relationship issues.
“To better support victims of domestic violence, we’re increasing the penalty for breaching a protection order, recognising ‘economic abuse’ as a form of psychological abuse, and improving stopping domestic violence programmes.
“We’re introducing a new Family Disputes Resolution (FDR) service which will become a cornerstone feature of our family justice system, particularly for Care of Children Act cases. FDR will minimise the harmful impact conflict has on children with about 4,000 fewer court applications and 2,000 fewer children going to Court each year.
Excellent. Children should not be in court, unless absolutely necessary. The FAQ states:
It will become mandatory for parties to attempt Family Dispute Resolution before applying to the Court, unless an exemption applies. Access to the court is still available if FDR is unsuccessful.
So no heading straight to court.
Some types of disputes will not be suitable for FDR. For example, where there is a history of domestic violence or child abuse, where a party’s safety could be at risk, a significant power imbalance exists, or due to illness or disability.
Sensible exceptions.Tags: Family Court