Firstly, let’s take a step back. What is an FDR? This is Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment, which is (usually) the second court hearing where an application has been issued in financial matters.
Many cases settle at an FDR, as this where the Judge, if they are able to, provides an indication to parties as to their view on the outcome at a final hearing. This enables parties to take the possible settlement outcome on board now, enter into further negotiations and hopefully come to an agreement, avoiding a costly final hearing.
Private Financial Dispute Resolution
A private FDR is where parties pay someone (solicitor, barrister, retired Judge) who specialises in financial remedy to sit as a private FDR Judge. They review all necessary documentation and the positions of the parties, before indicating the likely outcome for settlement if before the Court. The indication is not legally binding, but if an agreement is reached, this will be drawn up into an Order and submitted to the Court.
Why choose to have a private FDR?
There are many reasons why a private FDR should be considered:
- Private FDRs can take place even where proceedings have not been issued. They should however not take place until full and frank disclosure has been undertaken.
- The Courts are inundated with applications, which has only been made worse due to COVID-19. FDRs are often over listed, meaning that the Judge and parties cannot always spend the time needed to possibly come to an agreement. FDRs may not be listed for some time. Private FDR’s can take place for the entire day (or longer) and can take place on date that is convenient for all parties – perhaps much sooner than waiting for the hearing to be listed at Court.
- The costs of a private FDR can be significant, but it will be a cost split between parties. Should an agreement be reached, the cost of a private FDR is highly likely to be less than issuing proceedings (if you have not already); attending the first hearing, FDR and then perhaps a final hearing, should an agreement not be reached at the FDR due to lack of time etc to discuss matters properly.
- The private FDR Judge will solely be focussed on your matter. This is no criticism of Courts/Judges but they often hear multiple hearings/FDRs a day.
At Barnes Clark Family Law, our solicitors can give you specialist and tailored advice regarding financial matters following divorce/separation. If you would like to arrange a free half an hour consultation with one of our solicitors, please call 01274 861096 / 01423 637272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.