Dispute service helps 1000 Kiwi families

By Wright Communications

The service, run by Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN), was launched last April after being chosen by the Ministry of Justice as one of two Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) suppliers in the upper North Island.

Since then, well over 1000 separated or separating mums and dads have contacted the service for the support they need to achieve the best outcomes for their children.

The FDR mediation service was introduced in March 2014 following a review of the Family Court.

It is designed to help separating couples agree on child arrangements without having to go to court, reducing the strain on the court system and potentially saving parents thousands of dollars in legal fees.

FDR can also spare families the stress of the court process, which can be particularly difficult for the children involved.

Presbyterian Support Northern General Manager for Development Wendy Hoskin says FWRS has performed well and achieved good results for families in its first year.

"In some cases the Family Court is necessary, but most families don't want to have to go to court and the process can inflame existing tensions," she says.

"The FDR service empowers separated families to work together to come to an amicable arrangement on parenting that both parents can agree to. This is better for the children and the parents."

FWRS manages the three components of the FDR process, including assessment of an individual's and family's suitability to participate; preparatory coaching for those who need it; and mediation.

One part of its service is offering Parenting through Separation courses, which help separating or separated parents to create parenting plans and talk to other parents about how children are affected by separation.

"The new FDR service is a great fit for PSN as it adds to the services our Family Works division already provides to children and families on a daily basis," Hoskin says.

"At Family Works we champion children and families, and offering a FDR service means we can help children and their families even more."

FWRS is managed from a call centre at the Support Office in Epsom. Families can contact the service by calling 0800 RESOLVE (0800 737 6583) or by using the online enquiry form on the Family Works website: https://northern.familyworks.org.nz/

Family Works supports at-risk children and their families to help them address complex issues like violence and conflict. Our services include counselling, social workers in schools, budgeting advice, emergency food parcels, family dispute resolution and group programmes for women and children affected by family violence. We're part of Presbyterian Support Northern, a charitable social services provider which works alongside children and families in communities across the upper North Island.


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