People having private FDR

What is a Private FDR?

Private FDRs have increased in popularity over recent years, particularly as a result of increased demand on court resources, time and expertise following the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Court-based FDRs

A Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (or FDR) is a stage within financial proceedings within the family court. This could be in relation to financial separation on divorce, or financial claims for children under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989.

At a court-based FDR hearing, a judge will hear a brief summary of each party’s position in relation to the separation of their finances on divorce, and will give an indication as to the likely outcome if a judge were to make an order at a final hearing.

The purpose of the FDR is to encourage the parties to reach an agreed settlement and avoid the cost, time and uncertainty of a final hearing, where an order will be imposed on them.

What is the benefit of a Private FDR?

A Private FDR is an out-of-court FDR. The parties step out of the court system and engage a privately paid-for evaluator (usually a barrister or retired judge), who will provide them with an indication, much the same as within the court process. The private process can be beneficial in providing a quick and cost-effective outcome.

At court, the judge is likely to have several cases in their list on any given day, and so naturally the time that they are able to give to one couple is going to be limited.

Although the PFDR evaluator is paid-for, and so an additional cost that parties need to factor in, they are able to spend more time considering the papers, understanding each party’s case and getting to grips with the financial dynamics at play. This will enable them to provide a considered and tailored and well-considered indication.

Statistics indicate that Private FDRs have a high success rate and that many people do reach agreement through the process and avoid the stress, delay, uncertainty and significantly increased costs of continued court proceedings.

Can a Private FDR only be used for cases that are in court?

A Private FDR (or similar meeting) can be useful in a variety of situations, and is not just limited to cases which are already within court proceedings.

An Early Neutral Evaluation can be used in financial cases on divorce, separation of a cohabiting couple or for arrangements for children, to provide parties with a steer in relation to the outcome of their case if a judge were to impose a decision on them at the conclusion of court proceedings.

Is this suitable for my case?

Our family law experts always discuss with our clients the range of available out-of-court settlement options. To discuss whether a Private FDR, Early Neutral Evaluation or other option is suitable in your circumstances, please get in touch with Sarah Green.

This article is for general information only and does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any questions relating to your particular circumstances, you should seek independent legal advice.