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Parents 4 Justice Press Release

Filed under: General,Law & Courts — roo @ 12:45 am Fri 4th April 2014

Family court consumers launch their own justice system

Auckland based Parents 4 Justice have today launched their resolve to the Family Court.

Already many of their clients are writing parenting orders usurping the courts authority and contracting it out to a third party experienced in child development. This party encourages the parents to reach agreement based on the child’s needs, but ultimately has decision making power if they cannot and is accountable to an independent body. Should a party compromise obvious resolve the person who is attempting to cooperate will be duly rewarded.

‘ A stark contrast to the family Court who entertain psychologically abusive parents creating issue because it keeps them gainfully employed ‘ says Auckland based Parents 4 Justice founder Amy McDonald.

‘The changes announced today by the Family Court will do little to curb the injustice that exists there. These reforms are the same package wrapped differently’ says McDonald.

‘Lawyers are trained in adversarial tactics that exacerbate conflict they are not trained in child development, they advocate on behalf of their clients not the child and seem to not be aware of some of the research, especially around shared care that exists, yet they push for it’ says McDonald.

Shared care is often argued on the grounds of shared responsibility between parents but McDonald says that is rarely the case.

‘Typically one parent takes on the majority of the childcare because they have reduced their hours of work or have more flexible work arrangements, whilst the other compromises the child’s schedule (activities and appointments) because they are unable to accommodate it in their contact time. Despite the child often being placed with caregivers, parents who are unavailable because of work commitments will not compromise their contact(146 over nights or 40% constitutes shared care) because it would cost them in child support. This puts further pressure on the main caregiver financially in being able to meet the child’s needs in the time in which they have contact. This person often also has day to day care and is also responsible for all costs associated with raising the child’ says McDonald.

Anecdotally many of her clients report that their ex partner will spend more on lawyers fighting for shared care than paying child support to enable at least one parent to be in the child’s life more rather than the involvement of both parents being compromised.

The cost and time it takes for the Family Court to make decisions McDonald cites as a key injustice which the court themselves recognise.

‘To have an issue heard before a judge (a defended hearing) costs $30,000 per party. Many of our clients went to court on a single issue and up to a decade later are still in a quagmire of legal argument, CYF’s investigations and psychologists reports’ says McDonald.

Albert Einstein said ‘you cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it’. “Neither can the judiciary solve this problem especially when they are paid by the system – that is a conflict of interest. Court consumers know the issues and therefore are the most well qualified to resolve them” says McDonald.

Over a decade ago the employment court abdicated decision making responsibility to an independent body, the Employment Relations Authority. Full time professionals are employed within it and therefore there is no financial payoff to exacerbating conflict.

‘This is what we have modelled our own justice system on and we encourage court users who deem the family court to be ineffective to contact us. Similarly we are looking for professionals trained in child development who would be interested in acting as a third party to resolve disagreements in a timely and cost effective manner to do so, two hours at the most, not years’ says McDonald.

Parents 4 Justice is an Auckland based support group representing court consumers nationwide who deem their children to have not been served justice by the Family Court. For more information contact them at [email protected]



  1. The solution suggested by Amy McDonald is common sense and will appeal to couples where they both have good mental health.

    Unfortunately, when one of the parents, or both, have unrealistic expectations about separation and is willing to take advantage of the corrupt services offered by familycaught$, then we all know the likely outcomes.

    However, for parents who know what parental love is about, Amy McDonald’s process will offer far better family outcomes, without unnecessary drama.

    Best wishes – MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 4th April 2014 @ 7:18 am

  2. Interesting concept. Essentially a third party with no interest except to reach agreement suitable to both primary parties. Be interested to see how it plays out.

    Comment by Rachel — Fri 4th April 2014 @ 9:56 pm

  3. There’s not much one can do with those parents who are not willing to participate Murray, however this could be an option for the “sensible” parents with an out come that doesn’t involve being involved in the family court process. If this assists one pair of parents working things out for their children with out going through the family court process it would have been worth it.
    I understand that the legal fraternity won’t like the idea of loosing revenue, with this suggested process. However knowing that they don’t like it will let me sleep better at nights 🙂

    Comment by roo — Sat 5th April 2014 @ 3:53 pm

  4. Rest assured (and sweet dreams) – the legal leechers will find a way somewhere somehow to spin a few dollars out of the revamped process.

    Comment by OMG You're *&^$*% — Sat 5th April 2014 @ 8:32 pm

  5. Dear Roo, it is possible to aim much higher than your comment:

    There’s not much one can do with those parents who are not willing to participate.

    The apparent failure of the familycaught$ to manage separations in a constructive manner certainly doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. Their paramount interest, was in easy asset stripping of vulnerable parties and also the opposite party too. They were allowed to do this, by Governments that included large numbers of MPs that were legal workers, through the last 30+ years. These Governments refused to competently manage the monster they had setup and that their friends profited from. (Doubtless some of the unearned wealth was backsheeshed to them too.)

    Generally the legislation around familycaught$ wasn’t a disaster on its own. But the familycaught$ just didn’t follow legislation, it actively worked on judicial activism, the tail wagging the dog.

    More dangerously, for protecting children’s and customer’s interests, it rarely ever set parameters for separation that protected the majority of children’s developmental interest (it would have cost them too much income) and it also never encouraged economical separation.

    They lacked a working knowledge of children’s developmental needs – just look through Family Law Conference papers of the last 30 years to see how irrelevant they are to protecting children’s interests. No discussion of impacts of parental mental health issues on ability to care for children, either together or in separated state. No discussion of the increased hazard to children’s development, due to separation resulting in less contact with much longer gaps of time between. These legal workers have left 30 cm deep of documents, showing their irrelevance to the ostensible task at hand. (Said a different way – they really just are crooks.)

    By choosing people who want to serve families and have the relevant knowledge and making sure that the charging system reflected serving customer’s interests, this would be easily done.

    If a mediation system were to serve customers, it would need to be much more transparent with the public, than the present cockroaches hiding under rocks secrecy. This would be easily changed.

    I tried to lay out the practicalities for running such a mediation system, in my submission to review of familycaught$.

    Best wishes, MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 6th April 2014 @ 9:12 am

  6. Separation doesn’t have to be nasty

    There’s a new buzzword in divvying up the assets after a relationship ends: collaborative separation.

    Auckland family law specialist Selina-Jane Trigg from Family Law Results said it doesn’t have to be that way, and a legal movement imported from the US is about to raise its head here in New Zealand.

    Comment by Downunder — Sun 6th April 2014 @ 9:27 am

  7. Structured Mediation in Divorce Settlement
    A Handbook for Marital Mediators by O.J., Coogler 1978
    Family Mediation Association, Lexington Books D.C. Heath and Company
    Lexington, Massachusetts, Toronto

    These are old, old, old ideas. They were good in 1978, but ripping off dumb customers paid so much better.

    If the rippoffs have been closed off, well maybe then we can serve customers better – if the customers now have better choices available.

    The familycaught$ was all about closing off sensible choices from customers.

    However, the challenge is to protect children’s interests, in a more customer (ie adult) focussed system.

    Government statements have not yet shown any particular efforts being put into protecting children’s interests through separation.

    Selina-Jane Trigg’s article does mention protecting children from emotional damage, but gives no details on how that might be done in practice. Easy to say, not so easy to do.

    Until these details are laid out in public, I remain skeptikal about the capability of either Selina-Jane Trigg or the Government mediation service to manage separations and protect children’s interests.

    Neither have mentioned the criticality of agreeing a separation and parenting plan, before removing children from their marital home.

    If neither have mentioned even this basic issue, then I have no confidence that these service providers are actually capable of the services they hope will put food on their tables.

    All of the Government watchdogs that should have spoken up for children’s protection, failed to blow the whistle on familycaught$.

    If it took our Government 30+ years to wake up to the unmitigated damage driven by familycaught$, then will these new service providers be managed any more competently?

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 6th April 2014 @ 10:14 am

  8. While our government and the lawyers can extort $$$$ from parents they will. With the P4J suggestion at least we have a chance of beginning to eliminate the lawyers. And if we can remove people from the ” non acknowledgement of Human or childrens Rights” New Zealand family court system I am all for it.

    Comment by roo — Sun 6th April 2014 @ 7:27 pm

  9. Follow the money……

    years ago in NZ having a DEBT at 27% of GDP would have been an outrage – ………check out the current DEBT…….created for NZers to repay…..

    That is why you as PARENTS – are going to have all your wealth removed – to pay for this lot…….that is why your kids are just PAWNS to force CONFLICT and ensure at least one parent is forced into permanent DEBT – but rest assured – the new changes – will demand FINES and PENALTIES from BOTH PARENTS and anyone else associated with that child ( grandparents etc ) ….and they will then look to take your PERSONAL PROPERTY when you cant pay what they DEMAND – and remember – the demands will NOT BE BASED on your INCOME – but what some LAWYER says you should PAY……..Excessive Demands which Drive up the PENALTY industry……..a corrupted practice in its entirety……

    And lastly – we have not yet had defined what this COST OF LIVING allowance $$$$$ is going to be for each CHILD…… the sky is the limit……$$$$$$$$$$$$

    The FAMILY court and all its failings are based on one thing – follow the money -your Rights mean nothing in the pursuit of revenue……..that is why NZ has such a poor history of protecting its Citizens property rights……..when Free trade agreements send Jobs and Industry overseas, there are few options left to create Revenue to pay down DEBT – that is why you are seeing a Drive to take more and more from the Citizens…….in FINES, PENALTIES and any other underhanded tactic they can think of……..#8 Roo you are right its a form of legalised EXTORTION ……….ITS NOT RIGHT, its just been made LEGAL so they can get away with it……..

    Now why would this be = Check out Agenda 21 – which calls for all citizens to have NO personal property rights at all………No wealth, no liberty, no personal freedoms at all – just a permanent slave to the system………..its already happening across Europe – very few people own a home across Europe, most families are Forced into renting – generation after generation – forever…….because their right to own property were removed………by debt creation…….Keep you poor, thats the tactic……

    Comment by hornet — Tue 8th April 2014 @ 10:53 am

  10. Totally agree with this approach. Divorcing parents need a third party to settle custody issues, but not lawyers. So called ‘new’ approaches using the same old same old ie lawyers will not change the outcome – they are trained in adversarial tactics and their motivation is money. Changing a system using the same players will change nothing. Parents 4 Justice are made up of court consumers and this group knows what it is like going through the family court and the financial and physcholigical abuse that the family court put on parents. Men especially are most hard hit through divorce as suicide stats prove. Its about time we stopped having the men/women argument and focused on the parent/family court issue and came up with a better game plan for our children.

    Comment by jane — Tue 8th April 2014 @ 10:12 pm

  11. #10 Sorry Jane, but Parents 4 Justice gets no support from me They support the following, taken from their own press release ….

    Tolmie, Elizabeth and Gavey in a NZ Law Review Article on the subject of shared care published in 2010 say the literature raises serious questions about the advisability of 50:50 care arrangements in situations where the parents are in conflict and are unable to prevent children from witnessing or becoming involved in that conflict, or where the children are very young.

    The “literature” they are referring to is their own “study” where they spoke to 21 women (who had custody disputes with the Fathers of their children). Note … they never spoke to ANY men. Yet astonishingly, they came to a conclusion that shared cared is not advised. Funny that eh ! And guess what, they never interviewed any children either. Even funnier !

    Comment by golfa — Tue 8th April 2014 @ 10:28 pm

  12. Not funnier -> more dangerous.

    I suspect that parents 4 justice haven’t read that Tolmie paper carefully and have just quoted it without thinking the issues through carefully? I would be interested to hear their answer on this?

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Wed 9th April 2014 @ 7:41 am

  13. Tolmie, Elizabeth and Gavey have a pretty clear agenda to “research” wearing blinkers. If you only look in one direction then the answers you find are pre-determined.
    I have never heard of parents 4 justice in the country and they are a tiny group in the UK as well.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Wed 9th April 2014 @ 9:04 am

  14. #12 and #13 We have decided to include these reports for the interest of all. Parents 4 justice are group of parents (both male and female, together and separated)who have experienced injustice within the family court system. We have decided to proactively bring to the attention as best we can the family court system to those New Zealanders who have no idea what goes on in this hidden arena. We do realise that a lot of people and groups have been trying to do this for some time, but we to have decided to “have a go”. Our suggestions are from a “both parent view point” and “what we think would be better for the child” with ways to have a better outcome for all concerned without having to go through the FC system. To many people’s first stop are a lawyer. M
    aybe we can assist with creating a well advertised alternative to this. We will be issuing further press releases through the media, and I look forward to keeping all the visitors to this site informed on what is being done. Your constructive comments are more than welcome, as you all have had similar experiences to us.

    Comment by roo — Sat 12th April 2014 @ 2:42 pm

  15. #14 There has been a revolution in the Family Court since 1 April. As yet we have little idea how that will pan and the impact it will have. Probably the mediations will be fairly successful and my prediction is that lawyers (being most of the mediators) will ensure that any one who wishes to pay for their lawyer to attend will do so.
    I would recommend that your group hold fire on publicity and guidance for others at the moment as we have little idea on what the future will bring. For the next few months, in my view, the task is observe, suck the new changes and evaluate what happens.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Sat 12th April 2014 @ 7:55 pm

  16. Thank you for your comments Allan we do appreciate them. We have been, and are watching developments, particularly within the legal professionals in the larger cities. We shall still watch and learn what those changes are and how they will effect people within the family court. However we will still be assisting “Joeseph Public” to understand what has been going on for so long, and that their hard earned tax dollars have been used to finance the shame that is the family court and the parasitic cottage industries that have sprung up around it. The press releases seem to have a lot of people interested and wanting to know more. It cannot be a bad thing to have the common folk of New Zealand informed as to how the family court has been and is now operating, as it should ensure more people ask how and why our he Justice system of a free country has allowed it to happen.

    Comment by roo — Sat 12th April 2014 @ 9:10 pm

  17. Dear roo, you are doing the right thing. Waiting passively to see what happens in familycaught$ would be failing to act and just be contributing to the ongoing disaster in familycaught$.

    It is very important that you press on with offering honest advice and support. Most people manage to do this by themselves. A good number of people can do it with support, advice and help.

    Some couples will fail to use honest negotiation, because of mental health problems, or one or both think they can get a better deal through familycaught$ style dishonest negotiations, signing agreements that they have no intention of honouring their own part and just old fashioned malice.

    These people don’t (cannot) look far enough ahead, to see the long term negatives that they are imposing on their children and even on themself. Some of these people can be helped by giving explanations about the consequences of their actions, introducing them to people who have been through those styles of divorce.

    Having tried to offer the type of support you suggest for several years (with support and advice from many people, in particular Allan), many people respond well. A small number have wanted to play attacking the other parent and almost refused to learn to be more tolerant and cooperative.

    When offering support, we have no levers to put pressure on warring couples.

    The Family Court, if it honoured the legislation passed by Parliament, would have the levers to say to parents, we will not approve your parenting plan, as it does not provide sufficient contact with parent X, thus could apply much more pressure to cooperate.

    familycaught$ resolutely fails to use this pressure to protect children’s or noncustodial parent’s interests. (This comment is slightly unfair, I have heard of a small number of cases where familycaught$ have behaved constructively, but only several years too late and after almost all of the family’s money had been mangled out of the family and into legal worker’s pockets).

    Roo, by offering honest services, you will be showing customers the healthy way to separate. This puts much more pressure onto legal workers to offer honest services to the public. This pressure is essential, if the public were to ever hope to get what they pay for from legal workers. This pressure will probably not be enough, but nobody has a right to complain if they haven’t tried their best.

    There aren’t many thanks in this world……. so take good care of yourselves….

    So roo, please steam on full ahead!

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 13th April 2014 @ 8:27 am

  18. #17 Thank you Murray I appreciate your comments. We will press onward.

    Comment by roo — Wed 16th April 2014 @ 5:10 pm

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