Family Dispute Resolution

We'll help you reach agreements that are in the best interests of your family.

Family Dispute Resolution

Working with families to help children flourish

About Family Dispute Resolution

What is it?

Family Works supports parents who are separating and anyone else who has an interest in the care and wellbeing of a child or children, and who need to make arrangements to care for children through the family dispute resolution process.

When parents separate, it can be a stressful time for the whole family. It’s better for everyone if you can sort out your children’s day-to-day care and contact arrangements without the time, expense and stress of going to court.

How can we help?

If you need help to reach agreement, Family Works can support you at each stage of the process.

We are contracted to the Ministry of Justice to provide a Parenting through Separation programme, coaching in preparation for family mediation, and sessions with a trained family mediator. The service is designed to help you reach agreements that are in the best interests of your family.

Where is it offered?

Family Works Northern provides Family Dispute Resolution Services throughout the upper North Island.

Services are available in Northland from Kaitaia to Whangarei, and in the greater Auckland region, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay including the East Coast.

Click here to see the full list of our accommodation where we offer Family Mediation. 

Family Mediation


Call our service centre, where one of our friendly service centre coordinators will talk you through the family dispute resolution process. This will take between 15 and 20 minutes.  Please ensure you read the Terms of Family Mediation prior to your pre-mediation meeting (step 2).


Participate in a Facebook/SKYPE/FaceTime or phone meeting with one of our family mediators where you will be able to explain your situation in more detail.  This will take no more than 60 minutes, usually much less.  Appointments will be available up to 7pm  in the evening Monday to Friday and on a Saturday morning from 9am to 1pm. Whatever your income, accessing the FWRS is free, and your Pre Mediation meeting with a Family Mediator will also be free.


Participate in a Phone/Skype/Facebook/FaceTime coaching session with one of our family mediator/coaches.  This will typically last around 60 minutes.  Appointments will be available up to 7pm in the evening Monday to Friday and on a Saturday morning from 9am to  12 noon.  Coaching is optional but highly recommended.  If any of the parties are eligible for public funding, coaching is free.


Meet a family mediator and the other party for your family mediation meetings (usually in the same room).  Your first family mediation meeting will normally  be of two hours duration.  Any subsequent meetings may be of a different duration.  The family mediator will help you reach agreement on the issues that need resolving. At the end of the final family mediation meeting, we will give you a copy of your signed parenting agreement and a few days later you will receive a Ministry of Justice form in case you need more help from the Family Court.  During these meetings the family mediator may recommend the appointment of a child consultant to meet individually with your children, to ensure their thoughts and feelings are given back to the parties going through the family mediation process.  If any of the parties are eligible for public funding, child consultation is free.

廣東話 (Cantonese)

普通话 (Mandarin)


Te Reo (Maori)

Lea Fakatonga (Tongan)

Sunil (Hindi)


If you qualify for publicly funded FDR, the entire process is free. Please see the table below to see whether you are likely to be eligible for government funding for free Family Mediation. Whether or not you are eligible for free FDR, there is no charge for anyone to attend the second step - the pre mediation meeting.  Furthermore, if one or more of  the parties qualify for free FDR, coaching and child consultation is free for everyone but the rest of the process will cost $448.50 for the person not eligible for funding.  If none of the parties are eligible for free FDR, then the cost of the coaching is $90 plus  GST per session and each Child Consultation meeting will also cost $90 plus GST per meeting.  The cost per person if there are more than 2 parties is less - please ask our service centre coordinators.

Number of dependants

Maximum annual income (before tax and any deductions)

Maximum fortnightly income (before tax and any deductions)

Maximum earnings over past 3 months (before tax and any deductions)

0 (you have no dependants)




1 (partner or child)




2 (partner and/or children)




3 (partner and/or children)




4 (partner and/or children)




5 (partner and/or children)




6 or more

Add $6,832.00 for each extra dependant

Add $262.77 for each extra dependant

Add $1,708.00 for each extra dependant

FLAS (Family Legal Advice Service)

If you qualify for free FDR, you’ll automatically qualify for the new Family Legal Advice Service, known as FLAS.  This provides you with around 4 hours, typically, of independent legal help to support you while you’re going through the FDR process.  Please ask your service  coordinator for details of the nearest FLAS provider to you, or click here to be directed to the get help page of the Family Justice website.


Services for children and their families


Parenting through Separation 


About Family Works

Family counselling

Enabling families to work through their conflict

Parenting programmes

Encouraging and improving parenting skills

Emergency food parcels and intensive budgeting support

Helping tackle poverty

Family Works provides a range of social services that support families and children. We are contracted to the Ministry of  Justice to provide a full range of family dispute resolution services.

Want to know more about Family Works?

Click here

Family workers

Walking alongside families, helping them rebuild their lives


Helping boys and girls work through the pain they struggle to express

Partnerships with other agencies

Creating stronger communities together

Parenting through Separation courses

Family Works highly recommends you complete a free Parenting through Separation course before attending FDR, although in most cases it is not compulsory unless and until you need to access the Family Court after the conclusion of FDR.

Parenting through Separation is a excellent free information programme, funded by the Ministry of Justice, that helps you focus on what’s best for your children when you separate. 

Parenting through Separation is delivered by 5 organisations across our region from the Northern Cape right down to Waipukurau in the southern Hawkes Bay.  Family Works, Plunket, Barnardos, Triple PPP, Birthright and Life Wise all have contracted with the Ministry of Justice to deliver these free courses.  You can book a place on a programme by finding the center nearest to where you live and using the telephone contact details below the address.


Bay of Plenty




Hawkes Bay/Gisborne

What others say


It was so straightforward and saved us heaps of hassle. We now have a plan that suits everyone and the children are happy.

It helps you understand how your children think, and how you can make separation easier on them.

I was happy to hear that the children didn’t need to be dragged through courts. The judges don’t know us or the children so the mediation option was really good.


Resolution Institute 2015 Practitioner Award

Timothy McMichael has been awarded the Resolution Institute 2015 Practitioner Award for significant contribution to disputes resolution.  

Read More

What about the kids?

What you need to know about how separation affects children. Children are affected by separation more than many parents realise, says Timothy McMichael.

Read More


Brochures in other languages


For other helpful resources

Click here

Family Legal Advice Service

Our Team

Meet our team members


Timothy McMichael

Timothy McMichael

Family Works Resolution Service Manager

Timothy McMichael set up our Family Works Resolution Services following changes to the Family Court. With more than 30 years’ experience gained in the UK, the USA and home here in NZ, in in the fields of Family Justice, counselling and family mediation, Timothy is dedicated to helping parents resolve their child care arrangements which are in the best interests of their children.

Meet some of our family mediators and coaches 

Wendy Hoskin

Wendy Hoskin

General Manager Development

Wendy is responsible for service development and business improvement. Her previous management positions include Service Manager for Auckland DHB’s Cardiovascular Services, and Planning and Funding Manager, Primary, Community and Ambulatory Services. Wendy has more than 15 years’ experience as a finance manager, business information manager, project accountant, and senior auditor and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Born and bred in Hamilton, Wendy has two children and, outside of her work, enjoys golf and boot camp.

Meet some of our family mediators and coaches 

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0800 RESOLVE (0800 737 6583)