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Mediation saves children from trauma of family court system


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Mediation saves 5,000 children from trauma of family court system

Family Works Northern has saved more than 5,000 children, and more than 5,000 parents and caregivers, from the trauma of going through the family court system with its Family Dispute Resolution Programme in the last two-and-a-half years.

Timothy McMichael, who is the Family Works Resolution Service Manager, says:

“Children come first in our mediation process. When the Family Mediation Service gets involved, outcomes can be very positive for children of marital or relationship breakdown. It is a huge plus for these children to not have to go through the family court system, which can be very traumatic.”

A new book on the effects on children of marital breakdown called Splitting Up - A Child's Guide To A Grown Up Problem, published by a UK law firm, highlights the negative effects on children there as a result of marital or relationship breakdown, which are remarkably similar to the effects on New Zealand children.

Family Dispute Resolution is an alternative to having Family Courts rule on child care and access arrangements. The process spares families the stress of the court process, can save them thousands of dollars in legal fees, and reduces strain on the court system.

After families utilise the Family Works’ mediation service, children often feel more secure knowing that their Mum and Dad are working together with less conflict to make decisions about their future and their wellbeing, said Mr McMichael.

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“Children often have more consistent attendance at school, and have improved or resumed engagement at school and with after school activities.”

The needs of the child are firmly placed at the centre of each and every Family Mediation meeting.

Family Works family mediators bring the combined experience of a national organisation which has supported families and children for more than 130 years.


For more information on how Family Works can help you help your children, see or contact Family Works Northern on 0800 737 6583 (Upper North island) and Family Works Central 0800 337100 (Lower North Island and the South Island).

• Family Works Family Mediators come from a range of background, including barristers, counsellors, lawyers, social workers or family therapists, and all are accredited by the Ministry of Justice.

• Family Mediation gets to work quickly – in many cases parents and caregivers will have their first family mediation meeting within 3 weeks of first contacting Family Works.

• A Family Mediation with Family Works Northern allows for a child’s thoughts and feelings to be included in the family mediation process, without a child ever having to attend a family mediation meeting. A Family Works Child Consultant can meet one-to-one with a child at a Family Works centre or at the child’s school to get their views on where they would like to live. That information is then sent back and communicated sensitively in the mediation process with the child’s parents or caregivers.

• Family Works New Zealand is able to offer family mediation meetings in over 100 towns and cities across the entire country from Kaitaia right down to Bluff.

• The majority of people who contact Family Works seeking help with day-to-day care matters qualify for public funding. If they don’t, then the government have fixed the price of family mediation at $897 per case – which is likely to be significantly less than anyone would pay for the cost of consulting a family lawyer and going through the family court.

© Scoop Media

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