MENZ Issues: news and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health.

Family court changes trialled

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 8:43 pm Wed 6th April 2005

Some of us are very interested to hear from anybody who is involved with the Family Court mediation pilot project mentioned below, particularly on the North Shore.

A pilot project aimed at helping troubled families resolve disputes more quickly is underway in a number of family courts.

The trial gives those involved in custody, access and guardianship battles the option of using specially selected mediators.

The pilot is being carried out in Porirua, North Shore and Christchurch and will start in Hamilton shortly.


  1. The paramount consideration when the Court has been deliberately and persistently defied must be the upholding of the authority of the Court. I will fight to the death to enforce that every Family Courthouse in NZ adhere to;” The best interests of the child require that the child have contact with both parents.” I will demand that Judges act fairly. End of Story . Exciting times folks -enough is enough – stop all the heartbreak now!!!!!!! save or Children now!!!!
    All of us must make this happen – dad4justice

    Comment by Peter Burns — Thu 7th April 2005 @ 9:14 am

  2. This will only work if BOTH parties are willing to be cooperative. I am a partner of someone going through the mediation process. It has become long winded with no actual decisions being made…or decisions being made then quickly broken, with no consequences or penalty for the party who has broken the agreement.
    There is not even a slap on the wrist.
    In fact we are faced with someone who is being blatantly obstructive and who is also reneging on agreements. The mediation process then stalls until a pre-determined review date, which may pass by with no action being taken.
    Rather than resolving the situation, it has made the situation worse and prolonged any firm decisions being made.
    It is time that the courts looked at the best interests of the children. Mums and dads end their relationship….children and their non-custodial parent should not be forced to end their relationship as well.

    Comment by Lynette McMahon — Thu 7th April 2005 @ 4:28 pm

  3. Lynette’s comment on the courts confirms that the system is manned, sorry, I mean peopled by ‘tossers’ (n) (Literally, one who masturbates. Common usage typically refers to anyone of whom you have a low opinion.)
    As John Tamihere appears to be able to identify these characters it seems imperative to get him working inside the system. I have always thought it queer to call it the ‘Justice’ System!!!! John is right on the button.

    Comment by bryan — Thu 7th April 2005 @ 8:44 pm

  4. Lynette remarks:

    This will only work if BOTH parties are willing to be cooperative.

    I agree with you Lynnett – and it is exactly this aspect that concerns me.

    If you can agree with your ex-partner about childcare arrangements (as I did with my first wife), you don’t need to go near the court in the first place.

    The fundimental problem with the NZ Family Court is that there are widely recognised incentives for being un-cooperative. The underlying culture of the court system is that you play to win by making your opponent loose.

    Unless it is understood by everyone that failure to agree on a parenting plan means that the situation defaults to 50% shared parenting, and that non-comlpliance with court orders will result in meaningful sanctions, long and bitter disputes will continue to rage.

    The disgraceful performance of the NZ Family Court over recent decades means that it is no longer seen by many people as a neutural arbitrator. Injustice has been seen to be done!

    I’d like to be positive, but I find it hard to see this recent initiative as anything other than rearanging the deck-chairs on a sinking ship.

    Comment by JohnP — Sat 9th April 2005 @ 12:18 pm

  5. me and the x are booked down for mediation at porriua,HOPE it is not like Johnp says i cant swim that well.

    Comment by michael oldfield — Wed 20th April 2005 @ 2:05 am

  6. On re-reading my comment above, I realise that it paints an unduly pessimistic picture for someone like Michael at the beginning of the process.

    I have always advised fathers that if they can’t come to an agreement without outside involvement, by far their next best option is to negotiate a parenting plan using the services of a counsellor or mediator. I tell them to make whatever compromises they can live with in order to come up with a workable arrangement which allows a satisfying relationship with their children to continue.

    Above all else, I’ve told them to stay away from lawyers and the Court if at all possible. If there is a fathers’ support group in the area, make contact and learn from others about what to expect from the professionals associated with the local Family Court. A phone number you can ring when your mind is starting to spin out of control with stress can be enormously valuable.

    I’ve talked to dozens of men who have undergone counselling provided by the NZ Family Court, and my impression is that the range of professional competency is rather wide – some mediators/counsellors are highly-skilled, while others are appallingly useless and even abusive to males.

    I’m very keen to hear feedback about which type of professional is getting hired for these pilot projects, whether there is any monitoring of effectiveness, and whether there is any evidence of improved outcomes.

    So give it your best shot Michael, and let us know how you get on!

    Comment by JohnP — Wed 20th April 2005 @ 9:35 am

  7. Like many other fathers I have been allienated from my children through the system encouraged by a bitter ex. I have two little girls 7 and 5 who need their father but have no control over the situation. I have experienced a night in the cells for talking to my daughter on the phone and having access reduced to one day a month from seeing them every weekend because I had my own opinion on nappy training (i.e. refused to make the girls wear nappies at night). Apparently I had no right to form my own opinion on this matter (from child phycologist Kate Bourke).

    My ex refused to acknowledge the bond my new partner had with the children and refused all contact. Last October, my father had a heart attact and I had to go to take my mother to hospital. I was due to pick my girls up at 12noon and phoned the ex to explain. She was not happy having her plans changed and went to my home to drop them off with my current partner. My partner did not know about it and when she told my ex she would have to make other arrangements with me, became both verbally and physically abusive and tried to force the girls out of the car. I received a phone call from my ex telling me that I would have to go to court to see them again.

    I have not approached the court (no faith I am afraid). I see it impossible for her to have custody and total control over the girls (her pawns) and me have access. She has and will, at a whim, refuse access (even with court orders).

    I have nearly given up the battle and would appreciate any advice/comments and members can offer.

    Comment by Paul Currie — Tue 26th April 2005 @ 7:20 pm

  8. Hi Paul Currie

    I don’t have any advice as my partner is in a very similar situation. This is a little different as my partner’s son lives with his father who has full custody. Her son use to see her in the school holidays in Australia and also she had access to him when she came back to visit in NZ. I met my partner in Aussie and we both decided to return to NZ. The problem now is that her ex won’t accept her relationship with me, so he has stopped all access. We’ve nearly given up the battle too, but have to keep fighting for the child’s rights as he wants to see his mother (he’s actually said that all he wants is to see both his father and mother.)

    Comment by R Bailey — Sun 1st May 2005 @ 10:31 am

  9. I find it amazing when I read through the above comments. I am currently going through a messy court battle regarding access to my son (4 and a half months old at the time of writing this note). To date my total time with my son would not yet equate to a full day, yet the mother contiunes to place barriers with the sole intention of increasing her control and decreasing my access. She has tried a DPO and when she realised this wouldnt work (as I am in no way a threat) she imposed a Trespass Order. Of course it goes without saying that all her actions are sponsered by the tax payer trough Legal Aid…the same system that bemoans the fact that our boys are failing, tries so hard to prevent a fathers equal involvement in his sons life. This is not the first time she has done this either…her 2 children from a previous relationship rarely see their father. In short she is a professional child bearer and the system supports her activities.
    I am a qualified professional, I have been overseas and played rep sports. My family are all qualified professionals contributing to society. She on the other had, is unqualified, has never left the North Island and has a history of welfare dependency…..but in the eyes of the law, she has more to offer my son than me…..go figure.

    Comment by Todd — Sun 12th June 2005 @ 10:27 am

  10. Hi im not a parent yet but its my mom that needs the help im 22 her oldest her youngest my half brother is about to begin the process my mom sufferes from deppression and has been unwell recently leading to interim custody being given to his father (wanker no disputing) the problem is with the court appointed lawyer for the child who is being over biased towards the father in this case she is 8 months pregnant!!! hormonal and unfit to be in this mediation. Is there any way that we can get her removed from the case as she is making things difficult slow and we are at the moment stagnating with the lack of progress

    Comment by Daniel — Sun 7th August 2005 @ 11:11 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Please note that comments which do not conform with the rules of this site are likely to be removed. They should be on-topic for the page they are on. Discussions about moderation are specifically forbidden. All spam will be deleted within a few hours and blacklisted on the stopforumspam database.

This site is cached. Comments will not appear immediately unless you are logged in. Please do not make multiple attempts.

Skip to toolbar