Service Terms & conditions

Effective June 1, 2021

FDSS Employees and volunteers are referred to as “McKenzie Friend/s” “Support Person/s” or “Community Coaches”. Third parties external stakeholders such as Counselors, Mediators or Psychologists or any other professionals. 

(FDSS) Family Dispute Support Services. Family Dispute Support Services (referred to as either “the organisation”, “We”, “Us”, “FDSS” or “Our” in this Agreement)

Use of this site and our services implies agreement in complying with the following:

The terms and conditions explains how the information communicated to you by our organisation and the information on FDSS website are dealt with. Also, it explains the terms and condition of your engagement with FDSS such as during; workshops, support groups, mediation, counseling, online knowledge base, written and verbal communications with FDSS coaches and Volunteers. By submitting your information online or completing any forms on this website, you are accepting our services terms and conditions and you are agreeing to receive our News Letters and marketing promotional materials through SMS messages or email. You can unsubscribe at anytime by sending us sms or by emailing us to 

The information contained in this site or by any of the correspondences communicated to you by our support persons or McKenzie friends and coaches or during our workshops support groups or any documents provided are intended for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. We accept no responsibility for the consequences of taking any information as an advice. None of FDSS support persons, McKenzie Friends, coaches or any of their associate could be liable for damage or financial loss independently caused. Also FDSS and their associates are not liable for any loss or dismissed court applications or costs awards / orders arising from any information provided through any correspondences.

The legal information and resources provided to our clients are available on the internet and in libraries. You can request from FDSS a screenshot or link of the information. “FDSS and their associates assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site or any information provided to  any persons. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.

We do not provide legal advice in that (or any other) regard, and as a result we will not be liable to you or anyone else regarding any incorrect use of any form or advice

 The aim of the submitting your information to us by email or through the website is for us to understand your case and circumstances background and to gather information to help you with your case, we do not provide legal advice in response. 

The information provided during our workshops or any documents provided are intended for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

We do not represent clients in the courts or at tribunals nor speak on your behalf or settle dispute on your behalf, but you need to seek legal advice providers who are able to offer representation.

We are not lawyers. If you have legal questions, please consult a lawyer. FDSS provides you with guidance and support, help you with your decision-making process, review your documents and assist you as required. 

FDSS is not a law firm, it does not provide legal advice. Any form of advice or information provided to our clients do not constitute to legal advice.

McKenzie Friend in New Zealand, which is a person that provides moral support to litigants, takes notes and help with case papers and quietly would also advice on point of law and procedure and issues litigants may wish to raise in court McKenzie friends also attend court with clients on the conditions that they have to file an application for lay assistant/McKenzie friend and sign the Undertakings form in the presence of a court registrar.

A McKenzie friend could assist a litigant in person in a court of law . Their personnel does not need to be legally qualified. The crucial point is that litigants in person are entitled to have assistance, lay or professional, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

A McKenzie Friend could explain their terms and conditions to you.

Conflict of Interest

a. If you sign up to use our In-court support services or ongoing support, and it comes to our attention that your former partner is also seeking services from FDSS and is the opposing party in the same Family Court case, we will be unable to provide services to you due to a conflict of interest. The first person who registered with FDSS will be given priority to receive our services.

b. You will be promptly informed of this situation, and we will make reasonable efforts to suggest alternative support resources or providers.


The Conflict of interest policy does not apply if both parties are actively engaged in Family conciliation services. In such cases, we will continue to provide our services to both parties, as the conciliation process is specifically designed to facilitate open communication and resolution. It is also confidential and non-legally binding.

Confidentiality when conflict of interest is applicable:

All information disclosed to FDSS when you seek to use any of our services will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. This information will not be shared with the other party involved in the Family Court proceedings.


Material on this site is protected by copyright of FDSS – Family Disputes Support Services at Any use of the material on this site – other than for personal use – is prohibited, including replication, downloading, transmitting, broadcasting, or posting.


The information on this site is for general use, and should not be used as legal advice. We do our best to ensure this site contains information we consider to be correct at the time of posting, but we do not accept liability for its accuracy or completeness. Any reference to a website, link, service, or agency on this site is not an endorsement or recommendation by our charity. We do not take responsibility for any problems or third party claims that result from the use of this site, or links on this site which direct you to other sites.

FDSS coaches, volunteers and support persons are not lawyers and do not engage in the practice of law or provide legal advice or legal representation. All information, software, services, and comments provided on the site or communicated over emails, phone calls  are for informational and self-help purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Use.

Links to other websites

FDSS website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

FDSS online Knowledge Base 

The knowledge base contains many information such as; forms and templates / generic advice about the court processes, links and forms through other websites. FDSS coaches do not provide legal advice in that (or any other) regard, and as a result we will not be liable to you or anyone else regarding any incorrect use of any form or advice. Completing the forms and filing them according to the appropriate procedures doesn’t mean that you will be able to represent yourself or win your case in the Family Court. If you need further advice you can contact our team or seek a legal advice through a lawyer. Some of the links or forms may not be updated nor suitable according to your case circumstances. Please contact us if you find any broken links or un updated form. 

  1. Disclaimer of Liability: The information provided in any form, including but not limited to written documents, emails, or verbal communication or recorded video or tutorials, is intended for general informational purposes only. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, about the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information provided. By using or relying on this information, you agree that we shall not be held liable for any loss, damage, or injury arising out of or in connection with the use of this information.

  2. Not Legal Advice: The information provided does not constitute legal advice, and no lawyer-client relationship is formed by virtue of its provision. The content of this information should not be considered a substitute for legal advice from a qualified professional. Legal matters are complex and subject to varying interpretations, and you should seek appropriate legal counsel to address your specific situation, if you wish to do so. 

  3. No Reliance: You should not rely on the information provided as the sole basis for making decisions or taking actions. if you are unsure , we strongly recommend conducting independent research and consulting with qualified professionals before making any decisions or taking any action based on the information provided.

  4. No Endorsement: Reference to any specific product, service, or organization does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation. We do not assume any responsibility or liability for the actions, products, services, or content of any third parties mentioned or linked to in the information provided.

  5. Non-Transferability: This disclaimer of liability and not legal advice declaration is non-transferable. It applies solely to the recipient named herein and may not be assigned, transferred, or conveyed to any other party without our prior written consent.

  6. Governing Law: This disclaimer shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of New Zealand, without regard to its conflict of laws principles.

If you do not agree with any part of this disclaimer, please refrain from using the information provided and notify us immediately.

By using or relying on the information provided, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and agreed to the terms and conditions outlined in this disclaimer.

Personal Data and Privacy

Please read our Privacy Policy to see how we use and protect any information that you give us when using our website.

Our site uses Google Analytics. This information is used to help us understand how our visitors engage with our site. If you need to update your information with us, or want to be removed from our mailing list, please email us


Our aim in working with you

• To support your through a stressful and potentially confusing process so that you can present your views to the court regarding the best interests of your children, in a clear and child-focused manner. Also, to support you in protecting yourself and your children.

• To explain for you the options of resolving your family disputes amicably, if possible, out of the court depending on the circumstances.

• To explain the process of the family court proceedings and how to navigate the family court system and avoid lengthy and costly litigation. To train you on how to self-represent in the family court and guide you through the process.

• To enable you, as far as it rests with you, to reduce conflict and the sources of conflict with your ex-partner, in order to focus on what is best for your children now and in the future to preserve and promote the relationships that are important to your children.

• To provide expert advice to assist and enable you to achieve these aims, away from entailing any emotional or psychological hardship on your family and children.

• Please be aware that should we believe you are asking us to become involved in ways that are inconsistent with your childrens’ safety and welfare, or breaches code of ethics in other ways, we reserve the right to withdraw from this agreement. I would of course discuss any such concerns with you before considering any such action.

Our Service agreement

• FDSS – Family Disputes Support Services is a charity offering a free and confidential service.
• We support people going through the court process without legal representation or support.
• Our aim is to help you to manage your case for yourself

• If we suspect a client is giving us false or misleading information, we might refrain from supporting the person or his/her attendance in our workshops.

When reviewing any of your documents, we might suggest some edits and its your responsibility to accept them or not. FDSS coaches are not responsible about any mistake, error, slip, or omission was made by our coaches. 

FDSS Volunteers and coaches can:

• listen to you and provide information and support
• help you find out if you can get free legal advice
• discuss settling issues without going to court
• explain how the court works
• help you fill in court forms and organise court papers
• go with you to court offices and counters
• help you to plan what you want to say in court
• go to court with you, take notes and help afterwards
• help you think about your next steps
• provide details of other specialist agencies

We don’t:

• ever give legal advice in any form – all the correspondences with FDSS staff in writing and over the phone/video calls or in person are just generic advice based on our personal experience and are legal information available in the public.
• act on your behalf or will be to speak on your behalf, unless we are asked to and with your consent.
• If you wish us to speak on your behalf, you will need to seek the permission of the organisation or person you wish us to speak to.
• look after your children or any vulnerable adult with you
• share your confidential information with anyone, unless we hear something that causes concern for your safety or another person’s
• act as witnesses to investigations.
• Complete the court on your behalf, however after you draft the application and response , we will be able to review the drafts and can suggest amendments on any of the contents , except the facts or incidents details.
• Writing affidavits or chronological list of events is your responsibility.

We ask you to:

• remember that you remain responsible for your case at all times and the prescribed rules and times of when and how things should be done.
• understand that there are times when we need to restrict our services, so that we are fair to all our clients, and we sometimes we cannot deal with all enquiries urgently.
• help us make our offices and workshops positive and safe places for everyone – clients, volunteers, and staff
• treat other people in our offices or workshops with the respect you would expect to be treated with yourself accept that if your language or behaviour is causing difficulties, or is stopping us from helping you or other clients, we will need to talk to you about this and that we may have to ask you to leave our offices our workshops
• This agreement is usually sent to all clients at the initial stage of using our services and while registering online.

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