Qualifying for funding

You may be able to get financial help to go to mediation or to cover legal costs for settling parenting disagreements.

Government funding is available for people on low incomes to help you settle disputes about how you’ll care for your children.

This government funding pays for:

  • Family Dispute Resolution (mediation), including preparation for mediation if needed
  • some legal advice about your responsibilities and options and help with filling in court forms if needed.

On this page:

Key words and meanings

For the purposes of this page, there are two key words: income and dependant.

Your income means your wages or salary as well as any benefits, interest or income received from a trust. It doesn't include debts, assets or your ex-partner’s income. 

A dependant means:

  • a partner who has no income or
  • all children who rely on you for financial support, whether or not they live with you. This may also include your ex-partner’s children if you regularly make payments for them.

How people can be eligible for funding

A decision about whether you're eligible for funding is based on:

  • the number of people who are financially dependent on you (your dependants) and
  • your income over the past year (before tax and any deductions such as student loan repayments, KiwiSaver contributions or ACC levies). If your income has recently changed, you can use your income (before tax and any deductions) over the past three months.

You're also eligible if you've qualified for family or civil legal aid in the past year.

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Find out if you qualify for funding

This table indicates whether you're eligible for funding. It shows the most you can earn to qualify, but that maximum income varies with the number of your dependants.

Find out if you qualify for funding

Accessible version: Find out if you qualify for funding [PDF, 89 KB]

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Apply for funding

To apply for funding, you'll need to:

  • fill out an application form
  • provide evidence of your income
  • sign a declaration saying the details you've given in your application are correct. 

Your Family Dispute Resolution provider or Family Legal Advice Service lawyer has the application form and will help you fill it out. They also need to sign the form.