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Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) Hearing

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Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) Hearing - make the best use of your time

For those going through a Financial Remedy Application the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing represents the middle point of the case.  By the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) stage the parties should have obtained all of the financial disclosure and dealt with any outstanding queries. 

This blog sets out in very plain terms the best way of maximising your time at a Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing and to hopefully achieve a sensible outcome. 

  1. The first tip I can give is for you to follow the timetable.  The Court, at the First Directions Appointment hearing, will set a strict timetable as to when documents should be filed.  For an Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) to be effective, all of the outstanding financial information needs to have been provided and therefore it is advisable to get the documentation together so it can be filed well in advance of the timescale set by the Court.
  1. Arrive early.  The Court generally will ask parties to be in attendance one hour before the hearing.  The whole purpose of this is to encourage the parties to start negotiations.  However, it may be advantageous for you to arrive, if you are represented, even earlier than this so that you have ample opportunity to discuss the case with your Solicitor/Barrister and ultimately can then go into the negotiations feeling more prepared.  Those parties who attend last minute to an Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) are unlikely to then be in a position to properly be able to negotiate an agreement.
  1. Be realistic.  It is important that you are realistic in your approaches and of course you need to be guided by those who are representing you.  Whilst ultimately making an offer which you feel would suit you best and you would be happy with you have to be mindful of the principles that the Court are guided by, namely that for any relationship of any length the starting point is an equal division, but the parties’ individual needs need to be considered.  This is not just in relation to housing needs, but also income needs going forward.  If there is a large disparity in the parties’ income, it is unlikely that there will then be an equal division as to the assets and therefore, in situations like this, it is important to adopt a sensible mindset when making offers . 
  1. Have an open mind.  If a party goes along to an Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing with it fixed in their mind that they will not be prepared to negotiate, then the whole purpose of the hearing is null and void as the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing aims to give the parties the ability to negotiate an agreement which they can both live with going forward.  Again, having legal representation to undertake this on your behalf is advisable.
  1. Listen carefully to the Judge.  If for one reason or another an agreement cannot be reached prior to the hearing, having heard from both parties, the Judge hearing the matter will give an indication as to how they would have dealt with the case at a final hearing. This is to encourage the parties to give further consideration to negotiating a settlement.  The Judge in effect rules themselves out of hearing the final hearing on this basis.  However, it is unlikely that the Judge hearing the case at Final Hearing would reach a hugely different decision, as the Courts are of course bound by the same principles. The indication from the Judge at the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) is therefore a good indication as to how the parties should then commence their negotiations going forward, particularly to avoid the unnecessary expense of a final hearing.

If you can keep these five principles in mind when attending an Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing, then the process should run much more smoothly for you.

If you need advice with regard to financial matters, please contact us. FDR Law is now part of the AIIC Group, which includes top 60 UK law firm Taylor Rose MW.  We now offer the same legal services as before as part of the Taylor Rose MW Warrington team.