What is a private Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing?

During family breakdown, the issue of finances and who gets what from the matrimonial pot, is often the cause of huge stress. To navigate the challenge of separating finances and assets, it is important to take early professional advice from an experienced family lawyer. This will ensure that any settlement that is agreed between a couple is fair and properly considers each person’s long term financial prospects, including pension sharing.

What happens when couples cannot agree on a financial settlement?

When an agreement cannot be reached, traditionally couples would take the issue to a court hearing, known as a Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing. This involves a judge considering all the evidence and arguments, before ruling on how a couple’s previously shared money and assets should be split. This decision is legally binding and puts all control of the outcome in the hands of the judge.

However, it is now more common for separating couples, who are unable to agree on how their finances should be split, to find a resolution through a private FDR hearing. This involves a divorcing couple paying for a financial specialist to act as a private FDR judge. The judge will evaluate the case and will advise on the likely outcome of financial matters should the case be heard in court. In this scenario, the judge’s evaluation is not legally binding but serves as guidance to help a couple reach a financial settlement agreement.

The benefits of a private FDR

The benefits of a private FDR include saving the time, money, and stress of going to court and more importantly, it allows a couple to retain an element of control over the outcome. What’s more, the proceedings are confidential which cannot always be guaranteed in a public courtroom.


To ensure the success of a private FDR, we would strongly advise taking the advice of a family lawyer. If you are struggling with the impact of divorce and separation, we offer a no obligation initial consultation for a fixed fee of £100 (incl. VAT), for up to one hour. At this meeting, we can advise you on all the issues relating to your personal circumstances, allowing you to make informed decisions moving forward.

To book an appointment please call 01444 472700, email us at info@tisshawssolicitors.co.uk or complete the form below.

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