What is Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediation?

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediation is a service designed to help divorced parents, parents going through separation, solo parents or whānau reach a parenting agreement about the care or custody of children out of court. The children’s best interests are always the primary focus, and most importantly, as parents or guardians, you get to make the important decisions about your children’s welfare, rather than a judge who does not know you or your children imposing a parental order. 

Who is eligible and what does it cost?

Carers and parents of a child that lives in New Zealand are eligible for Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediation.

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediation is subsidised by the government. You may be fully or partially funded depending on your income. If you are partially funded, to proceed beyond the free initial assessment, you may have to pay $448.50.

What is the Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediation process?

Step 1: Free initial assessment: Is your case suitable for Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediation? An accredited mediator will contact both parties to gather initial information, make recommendations, and assess suitability.

Step 2: Preparation for mediation (PFM): it may include PFM coaching and/or Voice of the Child.

Step 3: FDR Mediation: your mediator will help you and the other party explore different options to reach a parenting agreement.

12 hours of specialist services

If the matter is suitable for FDR mediation, the parties can use up to 12 hours of FDR Mediation; including Voice of the Child and Preparation for Mediation (PFM). 

Some of the issues frequently referred to Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Mediation are:


Which school should my kids attend?  


Which religion do we want our kids to practise?

Day-to-day care

Who is going to take the kids to extra-school activities? Playing rugby or soccer?

Contact & visitation

I am going through a separation and I want some structure to see your children more regularly. 

Medical & vaccination

We are divorced parents and we need to agree on whether my child will be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Place of residence

I have a dispute with my ex-partner who wants to move out of town and it will be hard to see my child regularly. We need to reach an agreement. 


We are divorced parents so who is my child going to spend Christmas with?

Guardianship or child custody

Who will be the primary carer of my children once separated?

Our mediator was very understanding and supportive. Overall a great outcome and I believe saved us extensive legal costs.

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