Mediation in New Zealand
The new Family Justice system in New Zealand gives access to all families to mediation and with that the opportunity to take their own decisions and create their own arrangements.
If you are eligible for state funding FDR mediation is free.
If you are not eligible there is a fee and the cost for FDR mediation is equally shared between the parties.
Who mediation will work for?
Parents or guardians in dispute about how to care for their children can take part in Family Dispute Resolution. In many cases this will be parents who are separating but sometimes it may involve extended family/whānau or other people responsible for looking after a child.
You may bring a support person to your Family Dispute Resolution session if everyone involved agrees.
Lawyers are not involved in mediation. In most cases children will not be involved either. Mediation is focussed on reaching agreement about your children. In some cases if you are separating or divorcing your mediator may agree to you also discussing relationship property but only if this helps you agree about your children.
How much will it cost?
Family Dispute Resolution, family legal advice and preparatory counselling (which your Family Dispute Resolution mediator may refer you to before any mediation sessions) are free of charge if you qualify for full government funding.
To find out whether you qualify, go to the funding calculator, or call 0800 2 AGREE (0800 224 733). If you think you may qualify, make sure that the Family Dispute Resolution mediator you contact is government funded – just ask them when you call. Family Dispute Resolution providers listed in those who can help are fully funded if they have the "F" symbol next to their name.
If you don’t qualify for full funding, you can still access Family Dispute Resolution mediation services at a set price of $897 (including GST) from a government provider. These providers are marked with an "S" beside their name. Providers with an "F" symbol next to their name may also provide Family Dispute Resolution mediation services at a set price of $897 (including GST) to so ask when you call them.Providers who are not government funded, can set their own prices.
Are you eligible for government funding?
To see whether you are likely to be eligible for full government funding, go to the funding eligibility tool.
Your Family Dispute Resolution provider can confirm if you’re eligible for funding and help you apply if you are eligible.
How to find a mediator?
A list of Family Dispute Resolution providers can be found in those who can help.
Preparing for Mediation
How to get the most out of mediation
To get the most out of your mediation if you are separating, it’s recommended that you take part in the free Parenting Through Separation parenting information program first.Parenting Through Separation helps you understand what your children need to deal with separation. It can also help you work out parenting arrangements you think would work for them and record these in a parenting plan. Parenting Through Separation can also help family/whānau.
You may be referred to counselling before attending Family Dispute Resolution sessions if it is likely to help you reach agreement about your children. Counselling may help because you are too stressed about relationship issues to think clearly about what your children need. This is quite common.
You may attend counselling by yourself or together with your ex-partner.
Your Family Dispute Resolution provider will arrange a counsellor for you. If you are eligible, government funding will pay for some counselling. If you are not eligible for government funding, you will have to pay for counselling yourself.
Funding Eligibility Tool
This tool will help you assess if you are eligible for government funded services. Please note you still need to confirm your eligibility with your mediator or legal advice provider.