The FDR Process

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Here are the key steps for FDR mediation. Of course, every situation and family has different needs and you may have special requirements or a more complicated situation. We can tailor our services to help you.

Note: You may also find this chart helpful: FDR Centre process flow chart (printable PDF)

1. Find out if you are covered by government funding

FDR Centre is an approved FDR provider under the FDR Act. However, FDR Centre is not able to provide the FDR mediation services on a fully funded basis (but can do so on a partially funded basis).

Government funding for FDR mediation is available for people on low incomes. Eligibility is based on the applicant's number of dependents and income over the past year (before tax and any deductions such as student loan repayments, KiwiSaver contributions, or ACC levies). If the applicant's income has changed in recent months, they can use their income over the past three months. An applicant who has qualified in the past year for family or civil legal aid is also eligible.

Please see the Ministry of Justice's website for all information regarding funding eligibility.

The cost of partially funded FDR mediation is fixed by the Ministry of Justice at $897.00.

2. Apply for an FDR provider

If you are eligible for partial funding, you can apply to the FDR centre now, by applying online

Once payment is received, we aim to have your mediation completed within three weeks from application (subject to the availability of other parties). 

3. The FDR Centre will appoint a mediator who will complete a Pre-mediation session with each party, including a Preliminary Assessment

Once your application is approved you will be allocated a mediator who will begin by meeting or speaking with the parties separately to assess whether mediation is appropriate and to work with the parties independently to identify the issues in dispute and assist them to prepare for the joint mediation session. This session may take place in person (or over the phone or video conferencing depending on where parties live). 

You can also request translation services.

4. Preparatory Counselling or Conflict and Communication Coaching

Your mediator may recommend these services for you, to help you prepare and participate effectively in FDR mediation.

Find out more about our Preparatory Counselling and Conflict and Communication Coaching services here.

5. The FDR Mediation Session

If, following your Preliminary Assessment, your mediator determines that FDR mediation would be appropriate, you will then go on to participate in a joint mediation session.  During this session, your mediator will meet with both parties (and potentially any support persons) together, to work with you and assist you to make care and contact decisions that are in the best interest of your child.

Things like day-to-day care arrangements, religious instruction, birthdays, choosing schools, managing school holiday care, and extra-curricular activities are all types of issues which may be discussed. Everyone has their say.

6. If one party does not turn up for FDR mediation

If this happens, your mediator will give you a form (‘s12 form’) to confirm you have turned up, but the other party has refused to attend. You can then take this form to go to the Family Court.

7. Agreement (or non agreement)

Parties agree during mediation

At the end of the joint FDR mediation session, the FDR mediator will help you draw up a written parenting plan. This could include decisions such as how much time the children will spend with each parent / guardian, holiday and birthday arrangements, and any health or religious matters etc.

Your FDR mediator will help you write up the plan into a Parenting Agreement. If you are happy with it, you and the other party will be asked to sign it.

You can keep this agreement private (between the parties), or you may make an application to the Family Court to have your agreement formalised into a Court Order (Consent Order), so the Court can make sure it is followed.

Visit the Ministry of Justice website for more information.

Agreement is not reached

Most people who attend FDR mediation reach an agreement. However, if you are unable to, your FDR mediator will talk with each party about other options available to them, such as:

In a small number of cases, your mediator may recommend separate conflict and communication coaching, so you can learn skills that will help you communicate more effectively, and assist with reaching a positive outcome in any future negotiations / mediations. This would not be covered by Government funding.

  • Another mediation session

Sometimes a mediator may recommend that you try another session. Again, this would not be covered by Government funding.

  • Court - Judicial decision required

If you cannot reach agreement, your mediator will give you a form (‘s12 form’) that you can take directly to the Family Court. Then a judge will decide on the care and contact arrangements for your children.