Divorcing couples reaching financial settlement through Private FDR

11 Apr 2022 | Lisa Pepper

The Runaway Advantages of the Private FDR

Our specialist lawyers are keen to ensure our divorcing clients achieve cost-effective outcomes as quickly as possible, with minimal conflict, enabling them to get on with their lives.  One of the ways we help our clients is through private financial dispute resolution (FDR).

The divorce team at Osbornes are highly experienced in helping clients resolve matters on divorce in non-court settings, and we have been seeing a rise in private FDR. 

What is private FDR?

Traditionally, finances on divorce are dealt with either by mutual agreement between the parties or on application to the family court. 

The court process includes disclosure of the parties’ respective financial positions, and after a first hearing, deal with what reports etc. are required, or former disclosures. This is then followed by an FDR hearing which focuses on trying to achieve a settlement. If that fails, a final hearing will follow and the judge will determine the final outcome.

A private FDR with an independent and impartial FDR judge is a simple and voluntary alternative to this.  

As a former president of the Family Division succinctly described it: 

“The parties pay for a financial remedy specialist to act as a private FDR judge. That person may be a solicitor, barrister or retired judge… The private FDR takes place at a time convenient to the parties, usually in solicitors’ offices or barristers’ chambers, and a full day is normally set aside to maximise the prospects of settlement. It takes the place of the in-court FDR.”

So, whether or not you’re already going down the court process, you have the option of agreeing to a private FDR hearing. It is confidential and without prejudice; and enables discussions and negotiation to take place freely with the judge’s assistance.

  • If a settlement is reached (and usually, it is), this will be drawn up in the form of a court order and submitted to the court for approval. 
  • Where an agreement cannot be reached, it will become necessary for a date for a final hearing to be set – though the parties can still work towards trying to resolve the issues ahead of it.

However, we make it clear to our clients there is the potential for a lengthy delay before there is a court final hearing, given the lengthy backlog currently affecting the family courts, and therefore we, as a team with the clients, take a constructive approach to try, as far as possible, to avoid a court final hearing.

Although there is a cost involved – mainly in respect of the private FDR judge’s fees, which is normally split between the parties – our clients find that the advantages of a private FDR far outweigh this, and the costs are not, overall, more expensive because the case is concluded far earlier than in the court process. 

What are the benefits of private FDR?

A private FDR offers clients a number of benefits, including:

  1. The private FDR judge will have your full attention. They will have the time to prepare properly and to set aside a day (or more) to hear the case without the pressures of the normal court timetable with competing cases.
  2. There is unlikely to be a delay in having the matter dealt with by way of private FDR. This in turn helps the parties focus on preparing for the FDR, narrowing down the issues to be resolved. Ahead of the FDR, each party’s lawyers will prepare and exchange a statement setting out their position on the issues. 
  3. The process of private FDRs is more flexible, less adversarial and less formal, making it more likely a settlement can be reached.
  4. There is a greater chance of reaching a settlement in a private FDR than in a court-based FDR. This can mean the difference between concluding the case in a matter of weeks – or months or even years if the case is litigated.

How can we help?

For specialist advice on how a private FDR can help you, call our leading divorce lawyer Lisa Pepper or complete an online enquiry form.  

Share this article

Contact

Contact Lisa today

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you






    • "She has impressed me as someone who fights my corner but also understands the importance of resolving issues without unnecessary escalation. She is calm and reassuring."

    • "Her mediation practice is exceptional; she is also a great solicitor and has a breadth of skill which is really useful."

      Chambers UK 2021

    • Lisa Pepper is particularly recognised for her role as a mediator in complex cross-border disputes. Her practice also includes handling prenuptial agreements and issues arising from the dissolution of civil partnerships.

      Chambers UK

    More Insights from Lisa PepperVIEW ALL

    1. open door - how to get a divorce
      19.5.2022

      How to get a divorce

      Step-by-step Guide to Getting Divorced In April 2022, new no-fault divorce rules replaced the old fault-based system in England and Wales....

      Read more
    2. 6.5.2022

      My ex has cut me off during divorce

      Unfortunately, it is far too common that when a client says it’s over, their spouse with the “purse strings”...

      Read more
    3. 6.5.2022

      How the Court views loans from parents during...

      A frequent issue in financial divorce cases is a loan from a spouse’s parent, often to pay legal fees,...

      Read more
    4. 12.4.2022

      Mediation or Arbitration: What’s best for me?

      Few divorcing couples want to end up in court, which is why mediation and arbitration are faster and more effective...

      Read more
    5. 11.4.2022

      Divorcing couples reaching financial settlement through Private FDR

      The Runaway Advantages of the Private FDR Our specialist lawyers are keen to ensure our divorcing clients achieve cost-effective outcomes...

      Read more
    6. 28.2.2022

      Divorce applications shut down from 31 March 2022

      From last year all divorce petitions in England and Wales were to be submitted to the court using the court...

      Read more
    7. 20.1.2022

      Family Mediation: a cost-effective alternative to court action

      Mediation is increasingly important for our clients in their efforts to resolve children and financial issues divorce. This week (17 to 21...

      Read more
    8. family in poppy field
      18.1.2022

      6 cases that shape a private children dispute

      Family disputes involving children can be particularly emotive, which is why our expert children lawyers work tirelessly to understand how...

      Read more
    9. father and son
      13.12.2021

      Who Pays Child Maintenance?

      Child maintenance is regular, reliable financial support that helps towards a child’s everyday living costs. The Child Maintenance Service (...

      Read more
    10. 9.12.2021

      Are irreconcilable differences grounds for divorce?

      If you have come across this article it may have been as a result of an online search to see...

      Read more
    11. 9.12.2021

      Negotiating financial settlements in divorce

      Costly and acrimonious divorces: a lesson in what not to do  If you’re determined to pursue your financial claims...

      Read more
    12. 25.11.2021

      Child arrangements for going abroad when separated

      I am separated from my spouse – can I take the children abroad on holiday? The answer to this question is...

      Read more
    13. 9.11.2021

      Keeping social media out of divorce proceedings

      We’ve recently seen the playing out on twitter and Instagram of the high-profile separation of actor Ioan Gruffudd and...

      Read more
    14. 9.11.2021

      I helped build my spouse’s career

      What is the impact on our divorce settlement? It’s been almost two years since The Da Vinci Code author...

      Read more
    15. negotiation
      9.11.2021

      How to speed up a divorce

      6 steps to speed up the divorce process For many people, once they have made the decision that their marriage is...

      Read more
    16. 9.11.2021

      6 cases that shape your divorce settlement

      Part of what makes our divorce lawyers experts in their field is knowing what way a judge is likely to...

      Read more
    17. father and children
      10.8.2021

      Child Maintenance: When is capital, income?

      Reading a recent case from the Child Maintenance Tribunal, I considered it worth flagging up that the Child Maintenance Rules...

      Read more
    18. 21.7.2021

      Child arrangements affected by pandemic travel restrictions

      International families experiencing long separation periods from children As pandemic restrictions continue to limit overseas travel, increasing numbers of separated...

      Read more
    19. 27.4.2021

      Divorce in your 60s – The Financial Implications

      How common is a divorce in your 60s? The latest divorce figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show...

      Read more
    20. father and son
      11.3.2021

      Financial responsibilities of father on divorce

      What are the financial responsibilities of a father on divorce? The period drama Bridgerton, the runaway success of the winter,...

      Read more
    21. 5.3.2021

      Contesting a prenuptial agreement

      Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are getting a divorce after nearly seven years of marriage.  According to reports, Kim filed...

      Read more
    22. 24.2.2021

      Welfare of Child Remains Priority for Courts In...

      If press reports are to be believed, the Kim Kardashian /Kanye West split will not lead to a custody battle...

      Read more
    23. london houses
      9.2.2021

      When can you claim PPR Relief on more...

      Family lawyers are familiar with ‘Mesher Orders‘ where the court orders that as part of the financial settlement on divorce,...

      Read more
    24. 26.10.2020

      5 top tips to finding the best London divorce...

      Finding the right lawyer to advise you on one of the most traumatic changes in your life, is a serious...

      Read more

    VIEW ALL