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Welcome to the Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society.

The Family Law Section represents the interests of approximately 1000 New Zealand family law practitioners. It has primary responsibility on behalf of the Law Society in all areas of family law and has a strong and active voice in relation to such issues as Family Courts management, the independence of the Family Court, Lawyer for Child rates, legal aid rates, and education.

FAQs – covid-19

The FLS have put together some FAQs, available to all lawyers.  Please read the FAQs before emailing your questions to us as the response to your query is highly likely to be available there.

Email bulletins – covid-19

We have made out latest bulletins, relating to covid-19, available to all lawyers below.

21 May 2020

  • New Family Court judge appointed
  • Oranga Tamariki escalation list
  • Family Court under level 2
  • Updated FAQs
  • Family Advocate

15 May 2020

  • $62 million package to support families through the Family Court
  • Executive committee

15 May 2020

  • Family Court (Supporting Families in Court) Legislation Bill
  • Family court – alert level 2
  • Budget 2020
  • Legal aid – alert level 2
  • Oranga Tamariki – alert level 2

15 May 2020 for Auckland lawyers

  • Important update – level 2

8 May 2020 for Auckland lawyers

  • Auckland Family Court stakeholders meeting - 13 May 2020

4 May 2020 for Auckland lawyers

  • Update for South Auckland Family Courts – Manukau, Papakura and Pukekohe

28 April 2020

  • Update from Chief District Court Judge – level 3
  • Shared care arrangements – alert level 3
  • Oranga Tamariki – alert level 3

24 April 2020 for Auckland lawyers

  • Important update for Auckland family lawyers – alert level 3

24 April 2020

  • Family Court operations - alert level 3
  • Legal Aid Services - alert level 3

22 April 2020

  • Oaths & Declarations and Wills
  • Family violence – immigration implications

17 April 2020

  • Oaths and Declarations Act and Wills Act – modification orders

17 April 2020

  • Without notice applications – addressing issue of service
  • Filing of non-urgent documents
  • Looking ahead to courts' operations under various alert levels
  • Family Court hearings
  • Legal aid – information on eligibility
  • Family Legal Advice Service
  • Guidance on executing wills and EPAs
  • Family Dispute Resolution services
  • Law Commission survey – succession law
  • Covid-19 time capsule project

16 April 2020 for Auckland lawyers

  • Filing of documentation – Auckland Metro Courts

14 April 2020 for Auckland lawyers

  • Record of Stakeholders meeting 9 April 2020

6 April 2020

  • FLS executive election results
  • Shared parenting – section 70(1)(f) Health Act Orde

3 April 2020

  • Swearing of affidavits
  • Urgent proposed amendment to Family Court Rules and legislation
  • Family Dispute Resolution

2 April 2020

  • Urgent proposed amendment to Family Court Rules and legislation
  • Signing and witnessing of section 21 agreements – Relationship (Property) Act 1976
  • Reminder - filing of unsworn affidavits
  • Information for clients
  • FLS regional representatives

31 March 2020

  • PPPR Act Applications

31 March 2020

  • Guidelines for family lawyers
  • Shared parenting
  • Filing of non-urgent matters
  • Court events
  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Pro Bono support for Community Law Centres
  • FLS executive elections
  • Free seminar - mediation
  • Zoom

26 March 2020

  • FAQs
  • Shared care arrangements
  • Swearing of affidavits
  • Email queries

25 March 2020

  • E-duty platform – need for specificity in affidavits

25 March 2020

  • Update for family lawyers
    • Shared care arrangements for children – statement from the Principal Family Court Judge
    • Shared care arrangements for children  – Morning Report
    • FAQs
    • Task force – regional reps
    • Thank you to all our members

24 March 2020

  • Update on important issues impacting on family lawyers – covid-19
    • Electronic filing
    • Joint memoranda
    • Shared custody of children
    • Supervised access
    • Essential services
    • Signing of affidavits
    • Income level thresholds for FLAS and legal aid
    • Income eligibility for FDR
    • Court-appointed counsel payments
    • Work subsidies
    • Lawyer for child
    • PPPR Act applications – contact with subject person
    • Working from home

23 March 2020

  • Important update – latest news – covid-19

20 March 2020

  • Information – covid-19
    • Family Court services
    • Meeting with clients and children
    • Law Society services
    • Cancellation of FLS events
    • Financial Assistance
    • Information on latest developments

Care of Children Act documentation

This information is available for FLS members only and can be accessed here

Family Violence Documentation

This information is available for FLS members only and can be accessed here

New Zealand Relationship Property Reports

When Jay Shaw of Grant Thornton New Zealand proposed a survey of relationship property practitioners in conjunction with the New Zealand Law Society’s Family Law Section back in 2016, the executive was excited by the idea.  The first survey and report was produced in 2017 and we are pleased to have conducted a second survey and produced the 2019 report.  This has enabled a snapshot to be built of the practise of relationship property in New Zealand.

It has been great to see the positive response from practitioners for both surveys and our thanks to those practitioners who have taken part in these important surveys.

The Family Law Section thanks Grant Thornton for its instigation of, and involvement in, this work and we hope to continue to build on this snapshot of relationship property law practise in two years’ time.

Kirsty Swadling
Family Law Section Chair

2019 report - view the media release and download the survey report.

2017 report - view the media release and download the survey report.

Family Dispute Resolution

Recent reforms to the family justice system establish a new Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) service in relation to disputes about parenting and guardianship arrangements.

From the end of March 2014 if you want to provide either state funded or private FDR services under the new system you will have to belong to and be appointed by an Approved Dispute Resolution Organisation (ADRO).

The Law Society has been approved as an ADRO and is tasked with appointing individual FDR providers who meet and continue to meet the requirements and competencies prescribed for FDR. The Law Society welcomes applications from qualified practitioners who wish to be appointed as FDR providers. Read more.

NZLS Panel of Mediators

The service is currently available to members of the NZLS and its Family Law Section and has been developed to ensure that the quality of mediation undertaken by family lawyers is of the highest standard.

By joining the NZLS Panel of Mediators as a Family Specialist, you will be able to demonstrate that you have achieved a certain level of training and experience in family mediation, and that you are committed to maintaining a high standard of mediation in your practice.

The NZLS Panel of Mediators section on my.lawsociety.org.nz provides details on membership, accreditation and training, along with relevant resources, guidelines and precedents.