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FDR hearing

Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearings – what to expect.

24th January 2022 by Jonathan Talbot

Categories: What's New?

If you are applying for a financial order as part of your divorce then the court will list your case in for a financial dispute resolution hearing, often called an FDR hearing.  This is a private court hearing and is aimed at trying to assist parties in settling any dispute over finances. 

‘The judge does not make a final decision, but instead tries to encourage the couple to reach an agreement.  It provides an opportunity for the parties to meet to discuss all the financial issues arising and to seek guidance from a judge who will be invited to express a view as to the likely future decision of the court upon them.  Most disputes can be resolved at this stage, without the need for a final hearing,’ says Jonathan Talbot, head of the Family Department at Laceys.

How to prepare for a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing

Prior to the FDR hearing you will have provided proof of all your financial assets and liabilities, as well as having completed Form E which outlines the relevant considerations for the court, such as your future financial needs and the needs of any children.  You will also have seen your former spouse’s financial information and their Form E. 

It is important to provide full disclosure of your assets, and you should be satisfied that you have seen a full disclosure of your former spouse’s finances also.  Any queries over missing information should be dealt with in advance of the hearing and can be raised by your lawyer in a questionnaire to your former spouse.

Having discussed the financial information with your solicitor, you should have put forward and received a proposal to settle.  The judge will need to be made aware of the offers exchanged at the FDR and deal with them in the indication given as to the likely future decision of the court.   

The Financial Dispute Resolution hearing, by its very nature, will only be successful if both parties are willing to settle.  In advance of the hearing, you should consider your options in this respect and where there may be possibility for compromise.  If you are intent on buying out your former spouse’s interest in, for example the family home, then you will need to be prepared to demonstrate the financial resources that you may be able to raise to do so and the factors that affect that potential level of borrowing.

What happens at the FDR hearing?

On the day of your hearing, you will meet with your solicitor and barrister if they have been instructed also to represent you.  They will take your up to date instructions to confirm your negotiating position for the hearing and discuss potential outcomes. 

You will not be expected to give any evidence, as your representative will put your case to the judge as your former spouse’s case will also be put to the judge. 

The judge will raise any questions or queries they have with your representative.  In some situations, it will be clear to the judge from what is said, and from the previous offers made, that one party has unreasonable expectations as to the outcome of the proceedings and can give an indication accordingly.   Although this is an indication from the judge, not a final decision, the judge can hope in this way to encourage a more realistic approach towards settlement that may enable further negotiation to take place between the parties either at the FDR hearing or later before final hearing. 

The further negotiations will be undertaken by the parties representatives and whilst  you will not be expected to discuss the matter directly with your former partner you must be ready to give your instructions upon these and the judge will normally be available should any further issues arise out of these negotiations. 

If an agreement is reached, then the lawyers can draft an agreement for both parties to sign which can be placed before the judge for his approval of the settlement as being fair to both parties and made into a final order.           

What if we cannot reach agreement at the FDR hearing?

If no agreement can be reached at this stage, then your case will be listed for a final hearing in front of a different judge.  The discussions that occurred at the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing will not be disclosed to the judge at the final hearing. 

You will be expected to give evidence at the final hearing, and this time the judge will be able make a final decision on what is to happen irrespective of either party’s agreement with the judge’s decision.

It is sensible to continue to try to negotiate a settlement before the final hearing.  If a settlement can be achieved it will save you a considerable sum of money in costs.  It can also save time, as there is normally several months to wait between a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing and a final hearing date, as well and the inevitable stress of not knowing what the final outcome might be.

If you would like any further advice on this subject or other family matters please contact either our Family department on 01202 377800 or or our Mediation department on 01202 377993 or

Jonathan Talbot

Partner — Family

Direct dial: 01202 377844


Jonathan Talbot
  • “Jonathan has been amazing at helping me get a resolution with my ex-husband. He was a great listener when I was getting very upset about clauses in our old divorce agreement that were not being adhered to and reacted really quickly with a letter and support. I would not hesitate to ask Jonathan for help again but please excuse me if I hope that doesn’t happen for a while as we all know dealing with ex's is never much fun! Thank you Jonathan.”

    Sharron Davies, MBE

  • “Very happy with how you dealt with my case. Many thanks for your help and advice from Mr Talbot and his secretary.”

    Jan Saad

  • “Jonathan Talbot explained the process and how things would proceed. He was very patient allowing us time to understand and adapt to our new situation. Legal language can be quite difficult to understand and he would explain what it meant and how it would impact.”

    Rae Frederick

  • “I always use Laceys for my legal work, I feel able to talk to them and I know they listen. They have always been professional and kind.”

    Dawn Aston

  • “I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to you and Shannon for helping me through this difficult time, I am really very appreciative to have had you on my team this year, you’ve been an enormous support. ”

    Mrs W

Jonathan heads up Laceys family department with over 30 years experience in Family Law.

He specialises in Family and Relationship Breakdowns, Financial Remedies, Collaborative Law and International Family Law.

Jonathan has a exceptional caring nature and will always strive to find solutions to family issues outside of the court if at all possible.

Outside of work Jonathan likes to keep himself busy by competing in Ironman 70.3’s when he gets the chance – which are no easy feat at having to complete a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and then a 13.1 mile run each race!

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