Family Court reforms working

July 29th, 2014 at 5:09 pm by David Farrar

Judith Collins announced:

More parents are resolving their disputes outside of court only months after the Government’s family justice reforms came into effect, Justice Minister Judith Collins announced today.

“Progress to date confirms our reforms are empowering people to resolve their parenting disputes outside of court, minimising the stress children often face when their parents separate,” Ms Collins says.

Since the Government’s reforms came into effect on 31 March this year, 562 assessments for the New Family Disputes Resolution (FDR) mediation service have been completed and another 530 are in progress.

Of the 122 mediations completed, 87 (71 per cent) have resolved all matters in dispute between parties, without going to court. Urgent matters, such as those involving family violence, still go straight to court.

The number of Guardianship applications to the has also dropped from 481 per week to 231 per week.

That’s great. Going to court should be the last resort for family disputes, but it was basically the first resort for any couples with parenting disputes.

“It’s fantastic to see parents making a real effort to work their problems out themselves. As a result, they avoid the unnecessary conflict, delays and expense the court process may involve, and the Family Court remains free to focus on the most serious and urgent matters.”

Mediation is much preferable to court action, except of course for cases of violence etc. This is a really encouraging trend.

34 Responses to “Family Court reforms working”

  1. burt (11,437 comments) says:


    Mediation is much preferable to court action

    That’s an opinion.

    but it was basically the first resort for any couples with parenting disputes.

    Yes, with one party getting full legal aid and the other carrying their own costs – hardly surprising it ended up like that.

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  2. anticorruptionnz (251 comments) says:

    Absolute garbage

    The Family court is still a dogs breakfast I know of a mother who is having her child taken away from her by her dead sperm donors parents who decided that now that their drug addict son is dead that they wanted to have a replacement.

    This poor woman is being dragged through the court at great expense she has 5 kids and is up agaisnt wealthy people on a mission , the 6 year old has no desire to go to these looneys and no mother in her right mind would hand her child over to people who have not been part of their lives and who have made their lives miserable.

    The confidentiality of the courts work in their favour not in the favour of the well adjusted loved kid who is happy as part of the family he has always been in , but these people whose own son was a criminal think they can raise him better.

    I attend silent injustice and see women immobilized with fear that they will lose their children others who have given 30 years to a marriage and got nothing. even prostitutes and house keepers do better than wives.

    I also see men walk away with nothing , it is not a male female thing it is lawyer pouring fuel on the fire thing.
    mediation only works if people are reasonable. when people are reasonable there is no $$$ in it for lawyers so Greed comes into
    the equation with promises from the lawyer that the party they represent can get more .

    Its always the wealthy and or astute pitched agaisnt one who does not have the finances or resources to fight back

    Speak to the people who go to court . I have, I know the state of play I have heard it from the mouths of the courts victims.

    Elections are coming up lets pretend all is well … Sorry no it is not working. There is much wrong with out courts .

    Grace Haden Independent for Epsom
    Seeking proper accountability for lawyers to the rule of law.

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  3. iMP (2,665 comments) says:

    I see that “Curt” just got ‘Courted.”

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  4. Meatloaf (570 comments) says:

    Hi anticorruptionnz,

    I understand exactly what your talking about. And it is in to this regards that I have created a petition. It means, if their is a split, it will no longer be one sided. It means a split will only happen if it is absolutely necessary. So if your happy with it please sign. If your not interested, no worries either.

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  5. nasska (16,735 comments) says:

    A person more cynical than I might be forgiven for thinking that the utter uselessness of the Family Courts is the true reason people are sorting out their own disputes.

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  6. dad4justice (7,881 comments) says:

    “Urgent matters, such as those involving family violence, still go straight to court.”

    So false allegations of domestic violence on the balance of probabilities will condemn an innocent dad for life? Same old shit different day. Without notice protection orders are easier to get than a honest lawyer. My book will destroy this evil gravy train.

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  7. Monique Angel (429 comments) says:

    This is a load of fucking rubbish right from the top. Disputing parents are just not going to resolve their differences outside a court which is precisely why a court is needed.

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  8. dad4justice (7,881 comments) says:

    Monique Angel how come a forced respondent cannot produce evidence to show he is the victim of false allegations? The court is a disgusting gender bias sewer. Children are used as weapons of war to satisfy the adversarial civil court of filth.

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  9. big bruv (15,556 comments) says:

    “Children are used as weapons of war”

    They are mostly used as weapons by the parents who cannot put aside their own selfish desire for revenge to work on what is best for the kids.

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  10. mikenmild (23,516 comments) says:

    I would note that the vast majority of parents do not have to resort to a court to resolve their differences: they resolve issues as rational adults.

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  11. dad4justice (7,881 comments) says:

    What are load of rot big blouse my children were dragged into a cruel sick system by a mad woman and her lies. The gender bias system was more than happy to accommodate the false allegations. Like them I had no say. My poor kids did not deserve what they went through. I did NOTHING WRONG. Shut your vile mouth about things you know nothing about you obsessed creep. Your are really taking this to the limit scumbag. What a coward. At least pay back is not far away.

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  12. big bruv (15,556 comments) says:

    I am almost tempted to rest my case.

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  13. Johnboy (20,823 comments) says:

    You’re an asshole bb! 🙂

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  14. mikenmild (23,516 comments) says:

    Tell us when your book is coming out D4J.

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  15. big bruv (15,556 comments) says:


    Again I am going to have to appeal to our fellow Kiwibloggers, please tell me where I attacked you or your family?

    I simply took a quote from your post and added a comment, the fact that you construed that comment as a personal attack is not my problem. My comment was directed at a lot of those who appear before the family court simply because they cannot put aside their own issues to do what is best for their kids.

    For the record it was not directed at you, nor was it a comment on your particular situation. You also say that I know nothing about your situation, well to be fair D4J, there would not be many long term contributors, or readers of this blog who are not at least vaguely familiar with your past dealing with the family court. It’s not as if you have been silent on the matter.

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  16. dad4justice (7,881 comments) says:

    bigot blouse you have attacked my children. I have proof. You will find out in due time.

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  17. mandk (2,000 comments) says:

    @ nasska

    I agree with you about how useless the Family Court is.

    Three years back, I had to go through a 7 hour hearing concerning the care of my child and, despite what the Care of Children Act says, not a single word was spoken about what the child needed. Not a single word.

    Fortunately, I still have shared care.

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  18. big bruv (15,556 comments) says:


    Given that you have decided to make this personal I feel that I must comment further. First of all, once again you have demonstrated your well known temper problem, this makes me think that your complaints about the family court have little merit. Assuming that you find your temper just as hard to control in real life as you do on the internet then I think I am on safe ground siding with the judge.

    Secondly, you are well aware that I have never contacted any of your kids. I do not know them for a start off, and, unlike you, there are limits to how far I will go in an attempt to wind you up. The fact that you are prepared to tell such a blatant lie just proves to me that the judge may well have been right.

    But hey, apparently you will blow the lid on the judges and the bent cops when your book comes out……perhaps you could use some of the 20K you claim to have won on the crusaders publishing this non existent book.

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  19. dad4justice (7,881 comments) says:

    , “you are well aware that I have never contacted any of your kids.”

    That is a police matter now bigot blouse. Let them decide.

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  20. big bruv (15,556 comments) says:

    Of course it is D4J, of course it is.

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  21. mikenmild (23,516 comments) says:

    I get the feeling that the Police would not be unused to receiving various complaints from D4J.

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  22. ShawnLH (14,339 comments) says:

    Well short of threatening physical violence there is very little, if anything, that could be in an email that would be a Police matter. And I can’t see BB doing that.

    Sounds like bullshit to me.

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  23. big bruv (15,556 comments) says:

    I have never had occasion to appear in the family court, nor have I ever been in a position to pay child maintenance. However, I would feel like a total failure as a man, and a parent if I ever let the situation get that far.

    And as for men who do not pay child maintenance, well they are a very low form of life.

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  24. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    Without aiming this comment specifically at D4J, because I don’t know him personally and I don’t know his case, I’ve commented before that dealing with the Family Court would make even the most even tempered individual lose it, and the ongoing injustice would fan the flames of that anger and bitterness.

    Then, having taken a normal, rational, loving person (usually, but not always a father) and made them into someone who howls at the moon because no one else is left to listen, they then label that person as “having anger management issues” or “unbalanced” and use that as the reason for denying them justice. It would be like me setting someone on fire, then claiming I was so disturbed by the screaming I couldn’t bring myself to find a hose.

    To whit the outcome of an a hearing in an ongoing matter I dealt with yesterday.

    1. Father has no criminal record beyond a bit of larrikinism many years ago.
    2. Mother has a record of meth (P) abuse and dealing and, after years of second, third, and twelfth chances has finally been written off as a suitable parent. So the child gets handed to the maternal grandmother.
    3. Maternal grandmother has two convictions for drug manufacture and sale, during one of which the trial judge noted she was an inveterate liar and totally unbelievable.
    4. Father had four hours access every second Saturday, which was proceeding okay but the grandmother wanted more maintenance.
    5. When this was refused, she accused the father of various acts of vandalism including slashing the roof of her convertible. All this was, she told the Family Court, caught on CCTV; the police also had DNA evidence and the father was to be charged in the District Court.
    6. I advised the father to visit police of his own volition. He did, was interviewed and released without charge. Police said there was no evidence he had committed any of the offences of which he was accused.
    7. Upon making the allegations, the grandmother had refused to make the child available for access visits – a criminal offence unless the child can be said to be in realistic chance of injury or other danger. Not someone’s car, not their house, the child.
    8. Father fronts up to Family Court. We present evidence of his not having been charged, and ask that access be restored and that the grandmother be warned of the consequences of failing to obey court orders.
    9. Judge refuses to listen to father’s submissions, clearly hasn’t read the evidence, hears the grandmother (who admittedly doesn’t present like a drug dealer, but the evidence is there…) and orders that access from now on be in an enclosed room with a supervisor (for whom the father has to pay) looking through a window the whole time.

    Those who can’t figure out why D4J might sound just a little pissed off… how would you respond? Not just to one such event but to six years of this nonsense (which is how long the case I referenced has been going on, I’m not sure about D4J’s).

    FGS I swore for about 15 minutes straight and threw stuff around the office after this last encounter with “His Honour” (a misnomer if ever there was one).

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  25. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    big bruv says:

    …nor have I ever been in a position to pay child maintenance. However, I would feel like a total failure as a man, and a parent if I ever let the situation get that far.

    Really? So you’d stay with the mother of your child regardless of the state of your relationship with her, then?

    Because even if you separate amicably, divide the property up by consent, agree on every aspect of raising your child/ren, you will still pay maintenance. If your former partner is working then it’ll be whatever you might agree (but surely even if she were, you’d want to pay, right? So that’s maintenance).

    If she isn’t and is instead on a benefit of any kind, then you lose your right to reach an agreement and the state steps in and garnishees a huge swathe of your income. Again, that’s maintenance (though not all of it gets to the mother and child – a gross injustice).

    To make a sweeping statement that everyone paying maintenance, including those paying as much or more than they ought and doing so willingly, are “total failures” simply isn’t justified, BB. Relationships end for all sorts of reasons… sometimes even the fault (mostly) of the female…

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  26. big bruv (15,556 comments) says:


    I just had a look at what I posted, it was not my finest piece of writing. I should have separated my comments about appearing before the family court from the non payment of child maintenance.

    To be clear, I would feel like a failure if I ever let a domestic situation (which should always be about what is best for the kids) get as far as the family court.

    To further clarify. It is my opinion (surely I am allowed one of those Rex) that men who do not pay child maintenance are some of the lowest forms of life on earth.

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  27. GPT1 (2,155 comments) says:

    I am not sure making it harder to get into the Family Court means that the disputes are being resolved. It just means it is too hard to get it dealt with. Still the pen pushers have almost developed the Statute mandated forms to the point where they hardly ever delete information saved into them.

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  28. Nookin (4,570 comments) says:

    I suggest that this thread establishes that one of the major reasons why the Family Court struggles is the nature of its clientele.
    Let’s take Dad’s slating of court decisions on domestic violence cases as a starter. You’re a District Court judge. You have two strangers in front of you. One is saying that he/she is a victim of violence and abuse. The other denies it. What do you do? After all not long ago one of your colleagues went a bit easy on a prison officer who celebrated by murdering his kids. It happens quite frequently — not murder necessarily but extreme violence. You all know it because most of you bitch like hell at soft-headed judges who don’t throw the book hard enough. So, do you disbelieve the woman and take a helluva risk or do you take a precautionary approach? You can’t expect corroboration because the nasty bastards do it when no-one sees.

    Perhaps those with the wisdom of Solomon — dad? — can tell us how to deal with that?

    Someone complains that men walk away with nothing. I haven’t seen it happen and I have been round the traps awhile. If it happens, don’t blame the Family Court. It does what Parliament tells it. The Property {Relationships} Act has been around since 1976. The law before that was a dog’s breakfast. Most cases settle nowadays. That’s because there is a degree of certainty.

    Legal aid? Civil legal aid is not a gravy train. It doesn’t promote litigation except in a very few cases. If one party has resources and is ferreting away assets and wearing the other one down, why shouldn’t the party in the weaker position get legal aid?

    Mediation does work. Of course, it will only succeed if parties agree and parties will only agree if they are reasonable. If parties are unreasonable, refuse to co-operate and discuss their problems, don’t blame the Family Court. You have, after all, just established that at least one if not both of its clientele is unreasonable.

    BB @ 6.43 pm is correct though selfishness is not always the motivating factor. Some people get completely obsessed. There is no way anyone can divert their priorities –at least initially. We see it on this blog. Fortunately, many come round after receiving two or three invoices and fronting up in court in prehearing conferences.

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  29. Meatloaf (570 comments) says:

    Nookin, you said the wisdom of Solomon. In the era of Solomon as king. When two women said its my son, its my son. Solomon said I’ll cut the child in half, and you can share the child, between the two of you. One woman said, “no you take him”, is the woman who won. She was more concerned about the child’s wellbeing, and so the child’s death struck her emotionally. Solomon understood how to test motives.

    99.9% of the time, the woman ends up with the child, the house, alimony and the DPB. And the man just has to pay alimony, and higher taxes cause of the DPB. The motive is right their, because someone will be better off at another person’s expense. Solomon would not have had it this way.

    If both people lose, if both people have to make sacrifices, in a marriage split, a split will only happen if absolutely necessary. With insurance if you crash, you pay up the first $300-$500. Then your premiums go up. So if your friend is a mechanic, the insurance company will make sure that the person at fault pays something. Without that policy, insurance would be a moral hazard, where the more you crash the more your mechanic friend makes. Someone talked about the wisdom of Solomon, and that’s what I remember, for those who believe Solomon for real existed. Well I know, that at least his gold exists.

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  30. Meatloaf (570 comments) says:

    All is fair in love and war, and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The more rejected a woman feels, the louder her sobs will be. Is she going to say, I feel rejected? No she’s going to say something to hurt the man she feels rejected by. Well that depends on her morals. Some woman behave themselves, and have morals to stick by. But others use lies to get revenge.

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  31. Chinarugby (128 comments) says:

    Long story short.

    Until 2 yrs ago I had never been anywhere near any court yet I am now a support person for a dad who was granted guardianship and a full parenting order over his nephew who was removed from the mother by CYPS. Two years later this loving man has been dragged endlessly into the Family Court by the boy’s mother and what has been utterly gobsmaking is that this process is barely moving forward and is sucking up untold tax dollars courtesy of legal aid.

    It goes on and on and on with each new hearing having a new judge and all seems to be reset each time the new judge takes his or her seat. Two years – going onto three now and this farcical ordeal has soaked up what seems to be many hundred of lawyers and court hours.

    I am glad the Family Court is having change – as a reluctant observer I am aghast at how the courts allow themselves to be used endlessly by malicious litigants.

    I never want to go this court again!

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  32. Meatloaf (570 comments) says:

    Chinarugby, I’m not surprised. In America, after the divorce settlements, it is common for all of the family’s wealth to end up in lawyers fees. In New Zealand we have no fault divorce. But in America, they come up will all sorts of allegations to score points. So it looks like, the lawyers want to make some money.

    By no fault divorce as in the Act that Nookin pointed out, it means in a split, the property is split according to a set formula. Such as 50/50. The Act would explain more.

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  33. freemark (938 comments) says:

    Keep it away from the lawyers – if that means keep it out of the FC I’m all in favour.
    I won’t go into details of my situation, except to say that a certain Auckland lawyer (she has had some very bad press in other cases & her first name rhymes with spiv) engaged by the mother of my children turned what could have been a pretty amicable (although obviously very sad for most concerned) into a very nasty couple of years – and probably spoiled any chance of reconciliation.
    In saying that, my daughters seem to have adjusted very well, and may be better off now – but there is no doubt that the FC is very anti-fathers, the lawyer for the kids appointments & process are a bit of a joke, and this whole non-notified shit is criminal (although at least the Judge in my case saw it for a legal tactic)
    Still waiting for the CS reforms, stalled for 2 years had been the only decent Dunne done I thought…

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  34. Robo (35 comments) says:

    I’m always amazed at people who get involved with total nut jobs and then expect the courts to deal with the resulting disaster. Excuse me? Apparently Rex’s client had a child with a meth addict/dealer/hopeless case, it all went horribly wrong, and he now expects the court system, and by extension, the rest of us, to fix it? Not going to happen, not in this world.

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