New research questions how well the mandatory mediation for separating couples is working and shines a light on the impact of divorce on men. A law change in 2014 introduced mandatory family dispute resolution for separating couples, designed to settle disputes before they reach the family court.
Six years on, Justice Ministry figures show only 2000 mediations took place last year, despite nearly 6,500 applications. At the same time, nearly 7,000 couples by-passed mediation, applying directly to the family court to resolve their disputes. Auckland Master of Laws student Nurit Zubery's thesis research has revealed that divorce has startlingly negative impacts on men, in particular their mental health.
She says family mediation is underutilised but the men she spoke to for her research reported feeling disadvantaged and disempowered by the process. She speaks with Kathryn, along with her masters supervisor Auckland University Professor of Law Mark Henaghan.