What is a Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR)?
Most ancillary relief applications are settled at or shortly after the FDR. FDR is a form of mediation supervised by the Courts. By the time the matter gets to FDR, Forms E of both husband and wife will have been exchanged and filed with the Court together with other relevant documentation including Questionnaires and Replies, Chronologies, a List of Issues in the case, and an up-date on the legal costs incurred to date. The District Judge hearing the case will be informed of what offers and counter-offers have been put forward prior to FDR.
The FDR is held on a without prejudice basis. This means that whatever is written or said for the purposes of the FDR cannot be used in Court on any later occasion. If the matter is not settled at FDR the Court will give directions leading to a full trial of the application before a different Judge approximately 3 to 6 months after the FDR has taken place. Of course, it is still possible to settle matters between FDR and final hearing but the FDR presents the best possible opportunity for the parties and their lawyers to negotiate a settlement.
What is the FDR Procedure?
The procedure at FDR is as follows. The parties go in before the District Judge with their lawyers. The District Judge will invariably have read all the papers in the case and will have formed his or her own opinion of how the case should be settled and will often give forthright views on such settlement. It is not unusual for the District Judge who believes one party or the other is digging his or her heels in unreasonably to give a strong message to that party referring for example to the increase in legal costs that will occur should the case not settle at FDR.
Once the District Judge has given his or her views and if there is no sign of an immediate settlement between the parties they will be left to discuss matters outside the Court with their lawyers to see what settlement can be reached. If a settlement is reached the Court is informed and the Court will approve the order. If no settlement is reached despite the bests efforts of the lawyers and the Court then the case will go over to a final hearing.
What is the success rate at FDR?
In our experience over 95% of cases settle at FDR or within a week or two after FDR. It represents, usually, the last occasion for settling the matter before further substantial costs are incurred. If you have any questions about the FDR procedure please do not hesitate to let us know.
If the matter is not settled at FDR then the final hearing will take place some months later and a final order obtained then. It is important for a final order to be obtained at the time of the divorce or soon after the divorce. If no final order is obtained there can be tax consequences particularly relating to capital gains tax on properties including the matrimonial home as any delay may well trigger a CGT liability.
Tax on Divorce
Before the FDR takes place you should consider the tax implications of any proposed settlement as well as the consequences of not reaching agreement at the FDR. Such advice deals with CGT and should be obtained from a tax expert.
Contact us for more help on FDR
If you need further information about the FDR procedure or are in need of other divorce law services
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