Resolving disputes

Family dispute resolution

Choose family dispute resolution to sort out disputes about children when families are separating.

Looking for a family dispute resolution professional?

Search the Resolution Institute dispute resolver directories

As the largest dispute resolution organisation in Australia and New Zealand, Resolution Institute dispute resolver directories let you select a New Zealand family dispute resolution provider or an Australian family dispute resolution practitioner from a wide and diverse pool. You can filter your search by accreditation, additional skills, areas of practice and regions where family dispute resolution professionals work. There is no fee to search the directory.

Go to the New Zealand dispute resolver directory Go to the Australian dispute resolver directory


Why choose family dispute resolution?

Family dispute resolution, sometimes known as family mediation, provides families who are separating a chance to sort out disputes about children without going to court. Disputes vary greatly and include examples like time spent with parents, grandparents and other family members, living arrangements, religion, schooling, holidays, extra-curricular activities and so on. Through family dispute resolution, disputes are sorted out first and foremost, in the best interests of the children and where possible, in ways that suit parents or guardians and other family members,

In family dispute resolution, an impartial and independent professional can help family members to have constructive discussions to reach outcomes themselves.

In New Zealand and in Australia, family dispute resolution is usually required as a step before making an application to have the dispute sorted out in court. In each country, there are some circumstances where family dispute resolution is not required.

You may be able to access subsidised or funded family dispute resolution services. More details are available on the websites of the relevant government departments.

For more information on Family Dispute Resolution in New Zealand see the Ministry of Justice family justice web site: justice.govt.nz

For more information about family dispute resolution in Australia, see information provided by the Australian Attorney General: familyrelationships.gov.au


What does a family dispute resolution professional do?

A Family Dispute Resolution Provider in New Zealand and a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner in Australia assesses whether family dispute resolution is suitable for a family and how to manage any risks that are present or might arise.

If assessed as suitable a provider/practitioner describes the process, discusses confidentiality and how the decision can become legally binding.

A family dispute resolution provider/practitioner manages discussions to help parents or guardians and when appropriate, other family members closely involved in caring for the children to identify the issues and keep communications going to reach an outcome.

A family dispute resolution provider/practitioner usually sets guidelines or ground-rules to help guide the process, assists the discussion so it is fair and manages the interactions to help the communication to be respectful. A family dispute resolution provider/practitioner makes sure people have the chance to be heard and to say what is important to them.

A family dispute resolution provider/practitioner helps parents, guardians and when appropriate, other family members focus on what’s best for the children. A family dispute resolution provider/ practitioner does not make decisions for families and won’t force anyone else to make a decision.

If family dispute resolution does not go ahead or an agreement is not reached, a family dispute resolution provider/practitioner can submit information in New Zealand and provide a certificate in Australia that enables a family to take the dispute about children to court.

For more information on family dispute resolution in New Zealand see the Ministry of Justice family justice web site: justice.govt.nz

For more information about family dispute resolution in Australia, see information provided by the Australian Attorney General at: familyrelationships.gov.au