How to access FairWay’s FDR service

FDR is available to anyone who has a dispute relating to the care of children. This includes wider family members such as grandparents or extended whānau.

Fair Way is able to assist and aims to reduce stress on families involved in disputes by helping you through the FDR process. Please call on 0800 77 44 20 to speak to one of our FDR Resolution Coordinators who will set up the FDR service for you, or register online here.

It is easy to start the process

Starting the FDR process is easy with Fair Way. Parents and caregivers can call our team between 8:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday.

You can get in touch with the team by:

Phone – 0800 77 44 20


Online – online form

Specialist staff will help you through FDR

When you call Fair Way you will speak with a FDR Resolution Coordinator who will ask for your details and the details of the other people involved in the dispute. They will also check that your dispute is suitable for FDR.

If your situation is not suitable for FDR or if there is any risk to the safety of you or someone else involved in the dispute they will advise you of the next steps.

FDR Resolution Coordinators will assist you to work out whether you are eligible for government funding. The Resolution Coordinator will also engage the other parties in the process, and set up a session with a mediator. The FDR mediators are highly trained and accredited family specialist mediators.

You have a choice of FDR mediator

Wherever possible you will be able to choose your mediator. We have a wide national coverage and all FDR mediators are highly trained with the skills to help you resolve a dispute.

Our FDR Resolution Coordinators will discuss with you any special requirements for mediation and help you make a decision about choosing a mediator. You can also visit the Ministry of Justice website to view the details of mediators available in your area.

How to get preparation for mediation and legal advice

An FDR mediator will work with you on how to best use the FDR hours available to you and to determine if you need some Preparation for Mediation prior to attending mediation. This will help you prepare for the sessions with each party working one-on-one with an accredited mediator. This is called Preparation for Mediation and is free if you or the other party are eligible for government funding. 

Call us on 0800 77 44 20 and talk to one of our specialist FDR Resolution Coordinators. Parties are able use the Family Legal Advice service, which is also free if you are eligible for government funding. This service will assist in explaining the family justice services, your responsibilities and options, and the legal implications of your situation. You will also be able to get assistance to complete court forms if that is necessary.

You can get more information about the Family Legal Advice Service by visiting the Ministry of Justice website.


What happens if you can’t agree on a mediator?

Our FDR Resolution Coordinators will work with you and the other party to resolve any dispute about the choice of an FDR mediator.

What happens if you refuse to go to mediation?

FDR is mandatory for most people going on to the Family Court. If you have concerns about the service we encourage you to talk to us or get advice from a lawyer through the Family Legal Advice service.

There are situations where an exemption can be granted and your FDR mediator will be able to discuss this with you. However if you do not go through the FDR process for a dispute that was suitable for mediation, you may find that a Judge directs you back to FDR, once you get to family court. You will need to complete FDR, before your proceedings can move forward.

What are the consequences if the other party doesn’t go to FDR?

We strongly encourage both parties to attend mediation, but if one party refuses to attend, then the person requesting FDR will be granted an exemption, and can go to court to resolve the dispute. It is possible that the Judge might refer you and the other party back to mediation after he or she has heard from you both.

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