High Conflict FDR

For people who need parenting or property agreements but can’t access standard Family Dispute Resolution services due to family conflict.

Start the process by completing the New Ways for Families Course

Family conflict is harmful for children, especially very young children. We want to help and have designed a program to really make a difference for everyone in your family.

The first step for our High Conflict services, which are High Conflict FDR and Mediator Facilitated Negotiation is a quick meeting with you to discuss the process.

We prefer to run the meeting via video but can also run it by phone if necessary.

Book a free 30 minute consultation


High Conflict FDR is only ever facilitated by Video Mediation. We can use phone mediation if one of the participants does not have a reliable access to the internet.

Risk screening and safety protocols are designed to keep the process emotionally safe without preventing negotiation between people who are willing and able to work towards resolving your disagreements.



The process is designed to support people who have in the past behaved in ways that are not respectful to each other as parents or partners. Sometimes the hurtful behaviour was one sided, sometimes both of you have said and done things to hurt your partner.

A condition of participation in any of our services is that you behave respectfully and work towards a resolution. The New Ways course gives you both the skills you need to do that.



Our processes are designed to be efficient and help you to reach an agreement, if agreement is possible.

Once our practitioner has completed the intake process with you both we will decide if video shuttle mediation (or live video) is appropriate or whether Mediator Facilitated Negotiation is going to be more effective.

When we are working with families who have experienced high conflict we provide a high level of support.

See our pages on Family Dispute Resolution (for lower conflict families).

We also have more information about Mediator Facilitated Negotiation Family Dispute Resolution (where being online at the same time is not advisable or practical).

The first step in the High Conflict FDR is for you both to participate in our New Ways for Families Pre-Mediation Coaching Program.

New Ways for Families online course teaches you new ways to deal with stress and to negotiate. Participating in New Ways is mandatory for anyone with children under 18 and encouraged for people who don’t have children but have experienced high conflict or family violence.

The online course and New Ways Coaching teaches you the 4 big skills –

  • managed emotions,
  • moderate behaviour,
  • flexible thinking and
  • checking yourself

It also teaches you how to use proven strategies for negotiating the kinds of issues that families encounter when restructuring due to separation of the parents or when married or de facto couples without children end their relationship and need to reach a property settlement.

The pre-mediation preparation stage is conducted by a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner who will undertake risk screening and talk to you about safety.

  • If you have been the victim of family violence they will talk with you about your Safety Plan to help protect yourself and your family from future incidents of violence.
  • If you have used family violence tactics with your family they will talk to you about programs available to help you to change your behaviour so that you do not hurt the people you love by your words and actions in the future.

During this stage in the High Conflict Mediation Process they will also help you to prepare for the mediation by talking with you about:

  • parenting plans – these are written and signed agreements about parenting. They can be long term or, as we recommend when you are making major changes, for a set period of time with a review session pre-planned.
  • asset pool disclosure – full disclosure of everything that you have and everything that you owe is the first step if you need a property settlement agreement. In this part of the process the mediator will talk with you each about your asset pool, ways that people value the various items. In most cases people leave the  pre-mediation session with an action plan of tasks needed to determine the asset pool
  • what you want – you will already have done some work with your New Ways Coach on making proposals. The mediator will check that you have a clear understanding of your preferred options, your fall back position, your non-negotiables (if any) and how those options compare with your legal advice. If you have not had legal advice they will help you to understand the value in understanding your legal rights and obligations.
  • explaining the chosen process – if there has been high conflict or family violence happening in your family you are probably feeling pretty nervous about what  is going to happen in High Conflict FDR. The mediator will explain the process, their role, your role and that of your former partner. They will answer any questions you have and make sure that you are OK to proceed.

High Conflict FDR is a live video mediation session.

If one of you is very nervous it will be done as video shuttle.  That means that you will both be online at the same time but that the mediators will not be putting you in the same virtual room. They will talk to one of you then put that person on hold so you can not see or hear anything online, while you are on hold they will talk with the other person. This will alternated back and forward to try to work towards a resolution. Shuttle mediation isn’t a very efficient process due to the amount of time you each spend waiting while the mediator talks to the other person.

It is a good idea to have a support person with you so that you can talk to them while you are waiting.

Mediator Facilitated Negotiation isn’t live.

In this process the mediator works with each of you to document your proposals and share them and any information you want shared with the other person. The process isn’t done with you both available on the web meeting at the same time so it takes longer to get the message back and forward than High Conflict FDR. The advantage is that you are not sitting in front of your computer waiting while the mediator speaks with the other person.

If someone is emotionally fragile we generally recommend Mediator Facilitated Negotiation as well as when there are practical reasons such as time zones or work commitments that make a live meeting impractical.

The purpose of High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution (HC FDR)

The purpose of High Conflict Family Dispute Resolution is to provide a safer and more efficient way to engage in FDR where there has been family violence or high levels of relationship conflict.

We keep everyone safe and work to support you to move past deadlocks in making decisions about parenting and/or property matters. Our policy is to not bring people who have shown a willingness to use violence in the past to the same location as the person they have abused.

In the session either through direct discussion or shuttle video mediation you will have the assistance of a team of two Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners or a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and your New Ways Coach to negotiate a practical resolution for Parenting or Property issues.

If during the process you both feel that speaking face to face is appropriate your facilitators will be able to bring you together into the same online meeting room.

Mediator Facilitated Negotiation

no joint live or shuttle meetings
$from $1,980/family
  • New Ways for Families self-paced course for both parents
  • 2 hours of New Ways Pre-Mediation Coaching for each parent
  • 1 1/2 hours of Pre-Mediation for each parent
  • Up to 4 hours of High Conflict FDR
  • Additional mediator negotiation can be scheduled at $198 per hour if making progress
  • Fees can be paid by one party or split between both
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