Every year, thousands of New Zealand parents navigate their family separation process alone without help or guidance, often leaving their vulnerable children exposed to high parental conflict, mental health illness, suicide and family violence. Many parents have to go through the process alone, struggle to deal with their family separation process, sudden lifestyle changes and prevent their children’s exposure to high parental conflict. Meanwhile, they face other obstacles such as making decisions, and understanding the process of resolving their disputes amicably.
Also, many are forced to represent themselves in the Family Court, seek access to their children, protect themselves and their children from violence, or defend themselves. They are forced to navigate the complex Family Justice system alone without any help and support, often against the professional legal representation of the other party or they may face vexatious litigation from the opposition party.
FDSS was created in response to the demands of many whānau who are going through the family separation process and the Family Court system. Over many decades, thousands and hundreds of Kiwi families have been pleading for help on how to deal with their family separation and understand the Family Court complex processes.
The increase in cuts to legal aid over recent years has meant that thousands more people have to deal with their family court proceedings without any help or guidance. Their access to Justice is limited by how overwhelming the Family Court processes can be to those who have never faced it before, and many struggle to represent themselves effectively in court.