Beginning in April 2014, the New Zealand Family Court underwent a root and branch overhaul – these changes representing the biggest shift in the New Zealand Family Court since the Family Court was established in its own right in 1980.
Gone is almost all Family Court counselling, in court mediation and the automatic appointment of Lawyer for Child, and in its place is a suite of new Out of Court services, the centrepiece of which is called Family Dispute Resolution more commonly known as FDR.
The centrepiece of FDR is the introduction of Family Mediation, preceded by firstly assessment of the parties and the circumstances for the suitability for mediation and then preparation for mediation.
Anyone who wants help with any matters relating to day-to-day care, contact, choice of schools – in fact anything which traditionally would have been looked at initially in Family Court counselling, in court mediation, litigation or finally a Family Court hearing, in almost all circumstances now needs to access FDR before an application can even be lodged at the Family Court.
Please use this link to FDR Mediation to find out more information regarding Family courts processes.