Before FDR

Like many things in life, preparation is key to a successful outcome. Here are a few things you should know before proceeding with FDR Mediation.


Is there a threat of harm to you and / or your children?

If you or your children are at any risk of domestic violence, call the Police on 111 right away.

More information

When domestic violence is involved, no one expects a victim to have to sit down with the other party face to face in an FDR Mediation. If you have been the victim of domestic violence your FDR mediator will refer your case straight to the Family Court. You will not need to take part in FDR Mediation.

Further assistance may be found with the following agencies:

  • Women’s Refuge – phone 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Shine – national helpline call free 0508 744 633 (9am to 11pm, 7 days a week)
Consider Parenting Through Separation

Before you go to FDR Mediation, we recommend that you complete a Parenting Through Separation course. This is a free parenting information programme that has been used by thousands of families to help deal with separation.

The Parenting Through Separation Course

Before you go to FDR Mediation, we recommend that you complete a Parenting Through Separation course. This is a free parenting information programme that has been used by thousands of families to help deal with separation.

The programme is administered by the Ministry of Justice and is usually broken down into two sessions of about two hours (these may be held on different days or on the same day).

The sessions offer a mix of advice, discussion and practical examples, with the aim of helping you to manage conflict and help your children through separation. You are not expected to attend with your ex-partner and the provider will ensure they are booked on a different course date.

To find out more about Parenting Through Separation, see the Ministry of Justice website.

Preparing for FDR Mediation

It is important to understand how FDR Mediation can work for you. See below for more information on how the process works.

Understand the FDR Mediation Process

FDR Mediation is for anyone involved in a  dispute relating to the care of children (including guardianship). Generally this is parents who are separating but sometimes it may involve extended family/whānau. The disputes are usually about day-to-day care/contact or guardianship matters arising under the Care of Children Act 2004 (CoCA).

Parties can attend FDR Mediation if they are:

  • involved in a dispute relating to the care of children; or
  • thinking of separating or have separated, and are unable to reach an agreement regarding care of their children.

Parents and caregivers are eligible for FDR Mediation if their children usually live in New Zealand.

Consider what you want to achieve from the process

During this time emotions may be running high and sometimes it can be hard to think straight. Writing your ideas down about how you think your parenting arrangement could work can help. You should consider:

  • what you want;
  • why you want it;
  • what your ex-partner may want;
  • why you think he or she may want it; and
  • what ideas you have as to how you might reach a resolution.

It is always important to try to think about the situation from everyone’s point of view – but most importantly the children. In particular, if you consider the ‘whys’ – ie, why you or your ex-partner want a particular outcome – you will be better placed to think about solutions which may better meet the needs of everyone concerned.

Unsure of your rights and obligations? Here's where you can get some advice

The FDR Centre cannot provide you with legal advice.

You may be entitled to free assistance through the Ministry of Justice Family Legal Advice Service.

Alternatively, we suggest that you:

Starting the FDR Mediation Process

You can apply for FDR Mediation at any time by simply completing our online application form. Once we have received that application, one of our case managers will be assigned to your case and will work with you to:

  • assess your eligibility for full funding (if appropriate);
  • check we have all relevant information to assist you with your FDR Mediation process;
  • make arrangements for any special requirements such as cultural, language, or accessibility needs;
  • appoint a specially trained FDR Mediator to your case;
  • answer any questions you or your ex-partner may have about FDR Mediation;
  • work with your mediator, you, and your ex-partner to design your process taking into account whether you wish to access Voice of the Child and/or Preparation for Mediation services.

Your case manager will stay with you throughout the process. They are there to support you, your ex-partner, and the FDR Mediator with questions or concerns regarding the FDR Mediation process.

Our mediator was very professional and non-judgemental. I felt comfortable talking to her in a very uncomfortable situation.

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