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Fees introduced for civil disputes in Family Court

Filed under: General,Law & Courts — Pete @ 3:30 pm Fri 1st June 2012

The Family Court is about to introduce fees.


Thursday, 31 May, 2012 – 15:03
Fees being introduced for civil disputes in the Family Court will help to better focus its resources, Courts Minister Chester Borrows said today.

The new fees are only for applications for division of assets and child care arrangements and come into effect on 1 July 2012.

Mr Borrows said that a fee waiver regime was being retained to ensure people with limited means had access to the Court. Fees do not apply for domestic violence cases, such as protection orders, or care and protection applications.

“Until now, the Family Court only charged fees for divorce applications. Introducing fees for civil disputes brings it in line with other courts in New Zealand and with family jurisdictions in Australia and England,” says Mr Borrows.

An application relating to child care arrangements will cost a flat fee of $220 with no hearing costs. While an application relating to the division of assets will cost $700, there is also a hearing fee of $906 for each half day. The hearing fee is based on the equivalent fee in the District Court.

“Targeted fees provide an incentive for people to deal with their relationship problems outside of Court, where possible,” Mr Borrows says. “Avoiding court and litigation is usually better for the people involved, and it’s certainly better if children can be kept out of the court process.

“We want the Family Court focused on the people who need judicial involvement and judgments about cases.

“There are a number of other resolution approaches people can use outside of court, including mediation.

“Family Court costs have increased over 70 per cent to $142 million over the past six years and we want people to realise Court processes are costly and should only be used as a last resort. It’s sensible that people contribute toward that cost,” Mr Borrows says.

In my experience as McKenzie friend, I’ve seen quite a few child care cases where the mother filed a new application relatively shortly after decisions were made in a full hearing. From July, such mothers will think twice before applying as they’ll also have to consider potential hearing costs on top of application fees.

However, it is really frustrating that the court doesn’t also make their rulings enforceable. As most of you here know, if the family court made an order outlining child care arrangements and one party breaks the agreement, the other party cannot request police for assistance to enforce the order. Instead, one will have to go back to court and apply for a warrant to enforce contact.

It will be interesting to see how the fees apply in these cases.


  1. While Chester(nut)Burrows says the law change introducing fees will bring NZ into line with other family jurisdictions such as Australia, it will in fact just be the parent who makes the application who has to pay the fee – unlike the other family jurisdictions he uses as justification.

    In Australia the other party is required to pay an equivalent fee if they want to defend the application – unlike here. I our view it will be fathers who in the majority will end up paying the fee, not the mothers who suddenly cut off a father’s access. Distrubing statistics coming out of the Family Court Review shows that over a third of fathers lose access to their children within five years of separation.

    Tony for GerryMen Fathers’ Action.

    Comment by Tony — Fri 1st June 2012 @ 8:12 pm

  2. so what will happen here is a female will apply for protection orders, or care and protection applications claiming domestic violence and get them for free and when a guy wants to dispute and get half of HIS property and wants to make arrangements to see HIS kids its going to cost him $220..$700 and $906 +..plenty guys going to get doubled shafted with these rules

    Comment by Ford — Fri 1st June 2012 @ 9:54 pm

  3. associating with women is a dangerous game to play

    Comment by Ford — Sat 2nd June 2012 @ 9:55 am

  4. Yup, Ford is right. Guys get your water tight prenup now or buy a jar of vaseline to make the shafting less uncomfortable, because it is coming.

    Comment by Brian — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 12:07 am

  5. @ Brian. A prenup won’t make any difference. If a prenup advantages a women it will be upheld, if it advantages a man it will get ripped up. The court only has one rule; rule in favour of women. There are plenty of older guys now who have lost big money believing that one.

    Comment by Down Under — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 8:01 am

  6. That’s right boy, sign up for your pre-nups now. Make them tight. Detailed. Explicit. Convoluted.
    Bury those assests, boys. Put aside everything you have/had before your relationship began.
    I’m looking forward to them. Job for life for me and the girls [colleagues] as we make a killing contesting your pre-nups. We don’t care who wins or loses. We just want our slice of the pie as we rake up our fees.
    Got a fully paid investment property? Kept it seperate those last few years. Think you’re safe, that you’ll still have it after she leaves you? Think again boys. I see at least $12,000 income from that one. You might get your property – I don’t really care. But it’ll keep me employed – oh maybe 40hours work as I encourage her to seek a share, all the way through to a full FC hearing.
    At that rate, three cases a month will keep me going, and it’ll keep you down as you spend a year or two paying me back …

    Comment by Family Court Lawyer — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 9:15 am

  7. As Down Under and Family Court Lawyer says, a prenuptial is only as valuable as the integrity of the caught that it is challenged in. If it is a secret caught, then work it out for yourself?

    A prenuptial agreement has the advantage that it usually lays out a list of the assets, so it usually provides a good starting point for the challenge….

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 9:21 am

  8.’d have to be a low as the bitches you represent

    Comment by Ford — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 10:16 am

  9. #4..the best way to avoid any possible future issues is dont get involved with a female..dont marry one and dont have kids to one and be very careful where you stick ya dick and keep it wrapped up or better still..get a soon as you have sex with a female you have just given her all the power she will ever need to fuck you over

    Comment by Ford — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 10:40 am

  10. Reply to ford #9

    Hate to say it, but Ford is right….If you want have a good life ,don’t get involved with a Kiwi women

    Reply to Kiwi woman Family Court Lawyer#6

    Thank you so much for posting…You have made me truly happy for I truly know that I have made the right decision to now abode in friendly Male Asian country ..Thank goodness I have left this feminist cesspit called New Zealand …..

    I just feel so sorry for all the decent,caring and loving Fathers trapped in this feminist hell hole

    Kind regards… John Dutchie…Free at long last…..

    Comment by John Dutchie — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  11. “Mr Borrows said that a fee waiver regime was being retained to ensure people with limited means had access to the Court.”

    This is the key information. The mother will claim poverty. She gets a free ride. If the father wants a shot and trying to reamin part of his children’s lives he will be up for thousands of dollars just in court fees.

    Comment by Vman — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 7:13 pm

  12. #11..i hope your name is short for vasectomy man?,,cos it might need to be

    Comment by Ford — Mon 4th June 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  13. more corrupt lawyers will take advantage of this system..need to get rid of a few more of the bent bastards/bitches

    Comment by Ford — Mon 11th June 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  14. But you can claim costs? As long as you win.

    Comment by wendy — Tue 12th June 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  15. Dear Wendy, costs rules are rather loose in NZ and thus easily manipulated according to sympathy.

    Also, if a judge doesn’t want to award costs, they can divide the issue into several parts and award costs on some parts and not others. This could aid fairness, but it can also be used to avoid putting responsibility onto one party.

    In any case, legal-worker’s aid is usually the largest issue. This protects aided litigants from carrying any responsibility at all and this greatly contributes to the amount of wasted caught time.

    Self represented people are usually only awarded costs with respect to travel eg equivalent bus tickets and photocopying charges. This results in the other party not being held accountable towards self represented litigants. I think that UK are about to change away from this type of rule, due to its obvious unfairness. (I think that USA never had this distinction anyway?)

    Although costs is meant to give both parties incentive to be reasonable, honest, fair and to negotiate in good faith, it just doesn’t seem to work in NZ. To do this would cost legal workers too much.

    If men litigants worked together, to protect their interests, they would have a much better chance of getting fair hearings and fair costs awards.

    Judges seem to think that men can absorb any amount of costs awards against them, but any award against a woman (even a perjuring woman) will take away from the living standards of children. Of course only an idiot could reach such a conclusion, but we seem to have a plentiful supply on benches. MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 12th June 2012 @ 7:09 pm

  16. Hey Murray, Please please write a book! and I will publish it. We really need more written about the family court, about cases and what is really happening. Educate the public.

    Comment by wendy — Sun 17th June 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  17. #16 Wendy, there is already a book written by a NZer about his experience in the Family Court. You could buy yourself a copy from the author. I’ve read it and it’s a typical case experienced by a man.

    I’ve also read Alec Baldwin’s book “A Promise to Ourselves”. It’s about parental alination (mostly) and his experience in the American Family Court. They are eerily similar to other men’s experiences in the NZ Family Court. Funny that …..

    Comment by golfa — Sun 17th June 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  18. Hi Wendy, I try to put most of my effort into the positive, eg submission to replace fc, rather than documenting the relationship vandals and criminals work, eg DV Act. There isn’t much profit to be made in this area, so it is just giveaway territory.
    Cheers, MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 17th June 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  19. Yes I agree and I know there are some books out there. But as time changes more publications need to come out address issues and further points of view by different authors. Your submission is good Murray. So why not bind it up get an ISBN munber and put it into the national library for historical value. For all you know in 10 years time someone might find it and reference it in their own publication. Stuff on the internet gets lost and forgotten after time and can’t be accessed again. Every read the Holy Grail? its interesting how people go through publications held at national librarys and dig up stuff no one ever heard off and then it’s contents suddenly becomes priceless.
    Just a thought. I have a publishing company and would never turn down someone who is working hard to make changes in the family court and would like to get there story our there.

    Comment by wendy — Mon 18th June 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  20. their* sorry typing too fast 🙂

    Comment by wendy — Mon 18th June 2012 @ 3:04 pm

  21. #20..munder = number
    librarys= libraries
    are you sure it the speed of your typing?

    Comment by Ford — Mon 18th June 2012 @ 3:28 pm

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