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Family Law

Financial Dispute Resolution

When you are divorcing, we know that you will have many important decisions to make about your future when you are already going through an emotional period in your life.

You will need to make arrangements regarding your finances, which cannot always be agreed between you and your former spouse.  Should you not be able to resolve these matters amicably, and other options such as collaborative law have not been successful, you will need to go to Court to reach an agreement.  One part of this is known as Financial Dispute Resolution, and more couples are now choosing to undertake private Financial Dispute Resolution in order to avoid the time delays and costs involved in Court proceedings.

Our Family & Relationships department have experienced lawyers who can support you through the Court process or undertake a private FDR should you wish to come to a faster resolution.  Here, we answer a variety of questions regarding the financial arrangements following a divorce.  Should you have any further queries, you can contact a member of the team today to arrange a free initial consultation.

 

Financial Dispute Resolution Frequently Asked Questions

What is Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR)?

FDR refers to one of the stages involved in the Court process for making financial plans once a couple has begun divorce proceedings.  This would be held to agree matters regarding your pensions, property and any other assets.  There are three stages involved:

  1. The first stage is for you and your former spouse to collate the details regarding your assets and how much you are worth. This would be disclosed to the Court to allow the Judge to understand each person’s financial position.  This information is then used as a base for the First Directions Appointment (FDA) to confirm the details and attempt to agree on as much as possible.
  2. The second stage is the FDR, which is designed to reduce the likelihood of going to a final hearing. It is in this session that you would both put forward your cases for the proposed settlement.  Based on this, the Judge can give a likely assessment as to an outcome should the matter proceed to the final hearing, known as the ‘early neutral evaluation’.  With the potential outcome presented, you can make an informed decision about any settlement you wish to offer or accept.
  3. Should there be no agreement from the FDR, you will both prepare to go to a final Court hearing where the Judge will ultimately make the final decision.

The key point with any form of resolution is that both parties must provide full disclosure, and financial remedies are no exception.  It is vital that both you and your former partner are open and honest about your financial position, otherwise it will be impossible to reach a agreement.

What is private Financial Dispute Resolution?

Due to the current delays facing our Court system, private Financial Dispute Resolutions have grown in popularity.  The private FDR is run in the same way as a Court-led FDR, however you would pay a specialist to run the proceedings for you in a time and place of your choosing, often held sooner than through the Court system and in an environment less intimidating than a Court room.  You can decide to have a private FDR even if you have already begun proceedings.

The Judge would make their evaluation based on the documents that have been presented to them prior to the hearing and the submissions made by your legal team on the day.  While this is not a guarantee of the outcome, the evaluation can assist in aiding a settlement.

Once they have made their assessment and delivered their viewpoint on the potential outcomes, you and your former spouse would discuss this with your respective legal representatives and then, potentially, make an offer of settlement.

If agreed, a Court Order is drafted and signed by the parties before being filed at Court.  Most couples prefer to reach an agreement at the FDR stage as it leaves them with more control over the outcome; should the private FDR not lead to an agreement, then you would move on to the final hearing in Court and the final decision would lie in the hands of the Judge.

What are the benefits of private Financial Dispute Resolution?

Aside from avoiding the time constraints that are faced when using the Court for FDR, the other benefits include:

  • As well as being seen sooner than in a Court-led FDR, you will also have more time with the Judge on the day. In Court, a Judge usually has several hearings on one day, whereas paying for a private FDR allows the Judge to focus on your matter and take the appropriate amount of time to review the necessary documentation.  Court hearings are normally over listed, which could mean your hearing is postponed on the day; another avoidable situation with a private FDR.
  • A private FDR is more likely to lead to a settlement as it is a voluntary process opposed to going to Court, which is mandatory. When both parties have committed to coming to an agreement, one is more likely to be reached.
  • The environment with a private FDR is more conducive to an amicable and co-operative outcome, reducing any stress or tension that you may be feeling.
  • There can be greater flexibility with a private FDR regarding the negotiations that can be made on the day.
  • While you will be required to pay for a private FDR, the reduction on time and legal costs can lead to an overall saving compared to the ongoing costs of Court.
  • You can choose who your Judge will be and, should you require a professional with a certain area of expertise, one can be appointed accordingly.
  • The private FDR is completely confidential and held ‘without prejudice’, meaning that if an agreement is not reached, the discussions held will not be taken to the final Court hearing. Both parties are therefore free to speak openly without risking their legal position during the FDR.

Who can carry out private Financial Dispute Resolution?

A financial remedy specialist would act as the Judge in these matters, and could be a Solicitor, barrister or retired Judge.  They would usually be a specialist in family law, while a Court Judge may not be, bringing you more confidence that the Judge in a private FDR will understand the nuances involved in family law and the circumstances you will be facing.

Contact our Financial Dispute Resolution Solicitors

Private FDRs are becoming a more popular method to come to financial agreements, predominantly as it removes the hostility and tension that can arise from these matters.  Our lawyers in our Family & Relationships department are well versed in conducting these matters and are here to help. If you have questions or would like to discuss your situation, get in touch with a member of our Financial Dispute Resolution team based in our offices in AndoverRomseySalisburyTotton and Witney. Contact the team by using our Contact Form, calling your local office or emailing info@parkerbullen.com.