Family disputes

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a mediation service, which is part of the wider Family Justice system delivered by the Ministry of Justice.


The Family Justice system is designed to help people resolve their care of children issues without the time, expense and stress of going to court. This in turn frees up the courts to focus on cases that most need judicial expertise, especially those involving domestic violence. Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a critical part of the government’s family justice system, and is designed to help families reach agreement on parenting arrangements after separation.

About this service

Whilst most people reach agreement on parenting arrangements privately, some people need extra help. FDR is a nationwide mediation service that helps people discuss their parenting arrangements. An FDR Provider (mediator) will work with all parties so that a practical agreement can be reached that supports the best interests of the child.


How the process works

Anyone involved in a dispute about the care of children can go to FDR. The focus of Fair Way’s FDR service is to help parties build a better understanding of their children’s needs, and a better co-parenting relationship. Our FDR mediators’ emphasis is on building parties’ communication skills, which will help you make your own joint decisions for your children in the future.


The cost

FDR mediation is free of charge if you qualify for government funding. If you do not qualify for full funding, you will still be able to access FDR at a cost of $448.50 per person including GST, by using Fair Way FDR mediators. To find out whether you qualify for government funding call us on 0800 77 44 20 and talk to one of our Resolution Coordinators.


Where to start

To start the FDR process to resolve a dispute about parenting arrangements or for further information, please call our FDR team on 0800 77 44 20 or email us at You may also register online here.


Click here to fill in an online form and start the process of resolving a dispute about parenting arrangements.

Family Dispute Resolution is a mediation service, which is part of the wider Family Justice system delivered by the Ministry of Justice.

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.

The FDR mediator will contact you soon after you have spoken to an FDR Resolution Coordinator, and may either talk to you on the phone or arrange an individual meeting with you before the joint mediation meeting. 

FDR mediation is a process that enables you to talk with the other party in a confidential and safe environment. The FDR mediator will discuss with you how the mediation is set up and who can attend so that a process can be designed to meet your family’s circumstances.

Children are always at the centre of the FDR process.

You may be eligible for government funding

FDR mediation, Preparation for Mediation and Voice of Child Specialists are free of charge if you qualify for government funding.

How do I prove to the court that I’ve been to mediation?

You will be given a copy of an FDR outcome form to show that you have attended mediation. It is important to keep this in a safe place as you will need to attach it to your application forms if you proceed to Court.

This statement applies to Fair Way and all of its business units and services. Fair Way is committed to managing your personal information in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 2020.

Need more information?

These are links to other websites that may be useful.

The following case studies are based on actual mediation provided by FDR.

Fair Way has one booklet regarding family dispute resolution for families; and brochures in English, Te Reo Māori, Samoan, and Simplified Chinese.