+64 7 839 4771

Relationship Breakdowns: The Value of Mediation over Court

Relationship Breakdowns: The Value of Mediation over Court

Relationship Breakdowns: The Value of Mediation over Court

Tuesday 11 June, 2024

Navigating the consequences of a relationship breakdown can be challenging. However, mediation is increasingly recognised as an effective method to transform relationships and resolve conflict, with more people choosing it as an alternative to court proceedings. Mediation within the context of a relationship breakdown offers unique advantages to dispute resolution, including a more compassionate, efficient, cost-effective and personalised resolution process.

Facilitates Open Communication

Mediation creates a safe and confidential space for parties to a relationship breakdown to be able to explore the issues that may be impeding financial and property resolutions more openly, and then to be able to explore resolution itself.  Unlike a court setting which can be formal, adversarial and generally expensive, mediation encourages greater dialogue, leading to a better understanding between parties. This enhances the prospect of resolution and the possibility of an ongoing relationship.  Ongoing relationships are particularly important where children are involved.

Cost-Effective Resolution

Relationship breakdown often comes with emotional and financial strain. Mediation offers a cost‑effective alternative to court proceedings. By sharing the costs of the mediator, individuals can by discussion, agreement (and usually compromise) achieve a fair resolution without the additional financial burden associated with lengthy legal battles.

Closure is possible

Mediation can promote a resolution in a more timely manner than is often the case with court processes. Mediation can reduce uncertainty of court dates not yet scheduled and reduce the emotional and financial toll associated with prolonged court proceedings. Timely resolution is particularly important for people needing closure and the ability to move on with their lives.

Preservation of Relationships

Recognising the importance of relationship preservation, mediation focuses on fostering conversation, communication and co-operation between parties. This is especially important in a relationship breakdown which impacts children and extended family, where maintaining post-resolution connection for the future is often desirable. Mediation actively supports parties in finding common ground, providing opportunity not only to be heard but also to hear and understand the other's perspective. This bridge-building, however tenuous, can pave the way for future relationship restoration.

Tailored Solutions

A relationship breakdown is deeply personal. Court processes do not address the underlying human dynamic and because they are based in an adversarial process, can lead to irreparable relationship damage. Mediation on the other hand, allows parties to actively participate in crafting customised agreements, tailoring solutions to their specific circumstances and concerns, fostering a sense of ownership over the resolution process and enabling a future form of ongoing relationship.

Minimises Stress in a Supportive Environment

Court processes can intensify stress during an already emotionally charged time. Mediation takes place in a more supportive environment.  It can be intense, but it is not an adversarial process. Mediation can lead to a more constructive and collaborative resolution process.

Flexible Approach to Resolving Disputes

Mediation offers flexibility in selecting a suitable session time, a mediator who will be the right fit for the particular people involved, and the adaptability to allow parties some control over their circumstances, rather than being required to work to an external court timetable and the rules associated with judicial processes.


In conclusion, opting for mediation can provide for a more human, personalised approach in seeking resolution. The benefits of the mediation process make it a great tool for people looking for a fair and just resolution to the issues arising on relationship breakdown. As awareness of these advantages grow, mediation is likely to become the preferred mechanism used to navigate the complexities of family disputes in New Zealand, whether arising through separation in life, or upon death.

If you have further questions regarding any of the above, please contact one of our Family Law experts below.

Related Articles