Family Mediation Now Mandatory for Divorcing Couples in New Zealand
As of August 2012, most family disputes in New Zealand (including but not limited to divorce) must go through family mediation before going to court. The move was cheered by the Arbitrator's and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ), who announced its approval at the beginning of the month.
Couples going through divorce, as well as parties in most other family disputes, will be required to attend mediation before taking their case in front of a judge.
This solution is expected to help all parties involved get more of what they want in less time, while spending less money and creating fewer hard feelings. This will help free up the courts, save taxpayers money, and possibly help families reach decisions which are more agreeable to everyone involved.
Why Civil Mediation is Better for All Involved—And Those Who Aren't
When two (or more) family members get into conflict, it can affect the whole family. This is especially true when children are involved. Mediation offers an alternative that is easier on family relationships and growing children.
It also costs less for most families, most of the time. Mediation lawyers don't typically have to serve the long months than the litigation attorneys. And New Zealand's Family Court will try and work something out with parties who can't afford a mediator.
But Do Family Mediation Services Really Work?
AMINZ director Deborah Hart says that can—and has. New Zealand's Family Court made a trial of using mediation in 2005 & 2006. It had 85% of cases settled to some degree during mediation.
Even when family mediation doesn't take care of every last issue, it can clear the ground work for what's to come, and save family relationships (and growing minds) in the process.