In recent years, and particularly through the pandemic, the challenges for couples have increased, and there has been an escalation in separation proceedings. Processes that offer more ease and less cost to separating couples have been increasing in popularity. Private FDRs are one of those processes.
A traditional Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing is a normal part of the legal separation process to deal with the division of financial resources. Usually, the parties will apply to the court for a financial order, and a date will be set for an FDR hearing.
A private FDR is exactly what the name suggests. The separating couple takes the process into their own hands rather than waiting for a hearing to be scheduled and an order to be made by the court. Instead, they privately appoint and pay for a legal expert (whether an experienced judge, barrister or solicitor) to independently adjudicate the case outside of court and to provide an assessment of the likely outcome (financial aspects).
There are various reasons why a private FDR is a preferable route for separating couples.
A private FDR can take place in the presence or absence of ongoing court proceedings for divorce or dissolution. It can be arranged before proceedings have even been issued, proving very cost-effective if agreement is reached early on. If court proceedings are ongoing, an adjournment must be applied for until the private FDR takes place.
A private FDR will usually consist of the following steps:
Given the fact that private FDRs decrease the time spent involved in legal proceedings, they are a cost-effective process. When negotiating, parties should always take into account the additional financial resources (often in the thousands, or sometimes tens of thousands of pounds) that will be wasted if a matter goes to a full contested hearing
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