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Family Court Friction

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 9:04 am Fri 25th August 2023

This article is behind the Herald pay wall if anyone wants to contribute the detail in the comments.
This has just been published which may be a follow-up rather the original article above.

NZ Herald senior journalist Jane Phare has been investigating this issue for months, talking to the families, psychologists, lawyers and judges who have seen the inner workings of this system first-hand.


  1. It is a surprisingly well-researched article. It quotes a father who fought for five years to get 50/50 custody of his son. It is part of a series, linked at the bottom of the page. Here are a few excerpts:

    ‘Caught in a deadly game of chess’

    Problems plaguing the Family Court, and by association the Minister of Justice, aren’t new. Back in 2006, the then principal Family Court judge Peter Boshier denounced the traditional model for resolving disputes – filing affidavits, and requesting psychologist and social worker reports – saying that the resulting “slagging match” of allegations made it difficult for agreements to be reached. Cases took too long to get to court, he said, and parents were often caught in “a deadly game of chess where the rules meant that no one would win and the clear losers are the children”. Cases dragged on indefinitely, and animosity between parents obscured what was in the children’s best interests. Roll forward 17 years and not much has changed.


    A huge victim industry

    On West Auckland barrister Judith Surgenor’s Family Court wish list is specialist therapeutic help for parents and caregivers in intractable cases.

    “And make them go,” she says. “Half the time they won’t go because they’re not hearing what they want to hear. “


    The Children’s Commissioner Judge Frances Eivers also wants to see therapeutic services to improve outcomes for children in a better-resourced Family Court. In this year’s Family Court budget nearly $82m will be spent on legal aid, $50m on lawyer-for-child, and $9.15m on family dispute resolution services. However, only $1.73m has been allocated for counselling.


    Judge: ‘Less than ideal’ for families

    The current Principal Family Court Judge Jaquelyn Moran acknowledges the issues facing the court and the toll that delays take, saying they are “less than ideal” for families. Nearly 50 projects are underway to improve the court system, she says, including the establishment of Kaiārahi Family Court navigators; the appointment of Family Court Associates to help judges; and the opening of the Newmarket Court Hearing Centre in March to help with space requirements in Auckland.


    An emphasis on children

    As part of ongoing efforts to reform the court, the new Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Act comes into force this month which puts an emphasis on children’s participation in mediation and in caregiving arrangements. In addition, a new digital case management system, Te Au Reka, will roll out in the justice system, starting with Family Court. Te Au Reka will enable participants to engage with the courts online.

    In addition measures to better handle cases where violence and/or abuse are involved are underway. Specialised Family Violence and Sexual Violence (FVSV) response training for the court-related workforce was launched last month; this year’s budget included funding to enable more people in the Family Court to access family violence programmes; and from January 2024, victim video statements of children and adults will be able to be heard in the court, to ensure their safety.

    Comment by JohnPotter — Fri 25th August 2023 @ 10:27 am

  2. And seemingly something going on in Australia too.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 25th August 2023 @ 6:44 pm

  3. From the article in #2, it’s a point of view.
    I don’t think they will like me, being the enemy.

    “There are concerns men’s rights activists are coaching unrepresented parties on ways to exploit court processes.”
    “The chief executive officer of Single Mother Families Australia, Terese Edwards, said legal systems abuse also extended to child support payments, pointing to online forums advising men how to minimise their payments.”

    Damn those men, using the legal system.
    Geez look at the bigotry, women don’t pay child support.
    They want the maximum, not the minimum.
    The article is a perspective, of women only as victims.

    “There should also be more consideration of the child’s perspective, including if a child objects to a return order under The Hague convention on child abduction. The convention was put in place to stop non-custodial parents abducting children, but has been misused against victims fleeing domestic violence with their children.”

    It does not damn those women, using the legal system.
    The female alienator, the female false accusers.
    It celebrates, destroying ideas of 50/50.
    The law is made for women, they are helped to win.
    Want to be a solo mum, well we’ve got a legal system for you.

    “A dramatic overhaul of the nation’s family laws which puts more focus on a child’s best interests than on shared parental responsibility, is set to go ahead.”

    Only men, are the abuser.
    Humans are natural, at being gynocentric.
    Woman can do anything, nothings considered wrong.
    If a woman does these things, they are still the victim.
    A male victim, is never considered a victim.

    “Abusers can also make false reports to child protection, to landlords, or to social security, to “make her life difficult”.”

    The hypocrisy, is astonishing.
    It’s a woman’s rights article, giving advice.
    Links for helping women, but no links for men.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Fri 8th September 2023 @ 9:55 pm

  4. An argument you don’t get, is who can provide.
    Is that not a child’s best interests, being provided for.
    Because in the past, that’s how things were decided.
    Yet there was no dependency, going on a benefit.

    If the child’s with you, then you provide for the child.
    If with the other parent, then they must do the same.
    But if the male can’t provide, he doesn’t see the child.
    Yet the female can’t provide, and still gets the child.

    Absent fathers is getting worse, not better.
    Results for children is getting worse, not better.
    Men get made to provide, but not get equal custody.
    Yet the deadbeat mother, is effectively a normal thing.

    That’s harsh, as an argument.
    Originally benefits, were for abused women.
    To free them, from horrible men.
    Yet now it’s an option, for not working.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Thu 14th September 2023 @ 8:32 pm

  5. I have seen a few graphs, showing change from 1970.
    Something significant happened, and the world changed.
    About when I’m born, so long ago.
    I can think of many things, that have changed.
    Health and contraception, transport and telecommunications.
    Banking has changed, even our money has changed.
    Imprisonments rise, the idea of family wrecked.

    An interesting graph, was the number of lawyers.
    Can we point to the laws, that caused the climbing graph.
    For NZ, we made the Guardianship act.
    Men automatically, banned from seeing there children.
    Now family law, is an industry.
    The graph, sees no sign of stopping.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Sat 16th September 2023 @ 9:27 am

  6. 1. WHY would the past head of the family court state this? “ principal Family Court judge Peter Boshier denounced the traditional model for resolving disputes – filing affidavits, and requesting psychologist and social worker reports”. The reason is obvious – the psychologist are not much liked by lawyers in the family court – because the psychologist identifies the harm and the abuser engaging in psychological abuse and harm to the most vulnerable – Abusers and harm that have been protected and exploited by lawyers for profit and conflict – victims who are psychologically abused do not often complain ( Stockholm Syndrome ) – and there are seldom any physical injuries or visible harm. In our story the psychological reports identifying the abuser were covered up by lawyer for child who protected the abuser and allowed the child to be harmed, exploited and alienated. There are a number of stories coming to light where psychologists have seen their evidence dismissed by lawyers in the family court. As psychological abuse and the perpetrators are now being exposed the rotten tactics of those who protected these abusers in the family court are also being exposed.

    Comment by Hornet — Mon 25th September 2023 @ 11:39 am

  7. Psychologists are fine, if they hear the truth.
    But how can they be trusted, when people lie.
    I have read cases, where lies get told to them.
    The father getting banned, from seeing the children.
    Only for evidence, exposing the lies.
    The psychologist as evidence, is hardly credible.

    If the psychologist says one thing, but the judge ignores it.
    Why in another case, will the judge believe the psychologist.
    Worse if it’s opposite, the psychologist exposes abuse.
    The person playing the victim, is actually the abuser.
    The judge plays safe, and believes the accusation.
    After all, the psychologist can’t be trusted.

    Lawyers hate truths, lies are far more profitable.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Wed 18th October 2023 @ 9:47 pm

  8. My oldest son now an adult, is visiting.
    The family court, now an irrelevant thing.
    For my part, at least he knows I tried.
    If I didn’t go to the family court, I wouldn’t have that.
    I may criticise the family court, but they did help me.

    But with dismay, I know I’m also lucky.
    Many men in the exact same situation, do not try.
    Before they know it, they are not seeing the child.
    Relationships broken down, and contact is lost.
    I was there a number of times, until the family court.

    I could represent myself, but for many it’s a bad idea.
    My wrongs small, while hers were not.
    Things must be far worse, for some men losing contact.
    The stereotype woman innocent, while the man is bad.
    If I only just got my little win, what do they get.

    But you must try, or the visit may never happen.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Sat 21st October 2023 @ 11:39 pm

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