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What is a private FDR?

December 15, 2020

If you are divorcing from your spouse or dissolving your civil partnership, part of the process is agreeing on the division of your assets, which includes exchanging financial information with your spouse.

Once you have shared the financial information, you may be able to agree between yourselves, or with support from a solicitor or mediator, about how your assets should be divided. If this is not possible, you may have no choice but to apply to the court to begin financial remedy proceedings.

Alternatively, you may try a private financial dispute resolution appointment (“FDR”). In financial remedy proceedings, the court FDR is the second hearing in the process where a judge will review the financial information and give an indication of how your assets should be divided. It is hoped this indication will encourage negotiation and remove obstacles preventing amicable settlement.  A private FDR can be arranged alongside or outside of court proceedings if your spouse agrees to participate.

A financial remedy specialist, such as a solicitor, barrister, or retired judge, sits as the “judge” at the private FDR meeting. They will review your financial information and give a view on how your assets should be divided. Based on the experience of the “judge”, they will be familiar with the decisions of local judges and the likely decisions they would make in financial remedy proceedings. The benefits over the court process are that you can choose the date and time of the meeting and whether it will be held in person or remotely, and you can choose the “judge”.  Whilst the cost of the “judge” would be incurred, a private FDR can be far more effective in terms of overall costs than a contested court procedure.  The ability to choose a date also means you are not beholden to lengthy court delays caused by ongoing backlogs in the judicial system.

In order for the private FDR to be successful, you will need to have shared your financial information and be clear about the issues in dispute. The private FDR process is voluntary, so you do not need to have begun financial remedy court proceedings to arrange a private FDR. Alternatively, you can have a private FDR alongside ongoing financial remedy proceedings and the court can approve the private FDR decision in the same way as a decision made at a court FDR.  Therefore, if you wish to avoid involving the court or simply speed up the process, a private FDR can be a useful and effective tool to use.

Wallace Robinson & Morgan Limited are based in Solihull and Dorridge and serve clients across Birmingham and the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and further afield. Our team of Family Lawyers are happy to help if you would like advice about agreeing a financial settlement following the end of your marriage or civil partnership or arranging a private FDR.

If you would like to discuss your matter, please call 0121 705 7571 and ask to speak to a member of the Family law team or email us at

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.