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A Guide to Financial Dispute Resolution

Financial Dispute Resolutions have been gaining popularity over the last few years as a way to approach financial settlements in divorce in a more amicable way that avoids the need for a final hearing at court.

Stowe Family Law Solicitor Kelsey Faulkner explores what they are, how they work, and how best to navigate them.

A Guide to FDRs

When it comes to family law matters, financial disputes can be some of the most challenging to navigate. Whether it’s a divorce, separation, or the dissolution of a civil partnership, finding an equitable solution to financial matters is a top priority. Stowe Family Law Solicitors are here to guide you through the process of Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR), an essential step in resolving financial disputes amicably and fairly.

Understanding Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR)

Financial Dispute Resolution, often abbreviated to FDR, encourages both parties to find a resolution to their financial disputes without the need for a final hearing, which is effectively a trial whereby the Judge will hear evidence from the parties and decide. FDR is designed to save time, money, and emotional stress for all parties involved.

  • Preparation: The first step in FDR is to prepare thoroughly. This includes both parties disclosing all financial information to their solicitor and the other party. Transparency is key to reaching a fair resolution.
  • Negotiation: Full and frank financial disclosure will allow for negotiations in respect of settlement to begin. If a settlement cannot be agreed, an application would be made to the Court.
  • Initial Hearing: The court schedules an initial hearing where both parties, along with their solicitors, meet with a judge. During this hearing, the judge will outline the issues at hand and encourage open communication.
  • Negotiation: Following the initial hearing, both parties are encouraged to negotiate and attempt to reach an agreement.
  • Settlement Proposal: If an agreement is reached, the terms are formalised into a legally binding document. This can include financial arrangements, property division, and child support agreements.
  • Final Hearing (if necessary): If no agreement is reached, the case may proceed to a final hearing where a judge will make a binding decision on the financial matters taking into account the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the parties along with their financial needs and obligations.

The Benefits of FDR

  • Cost-Effective: FDR can save you considerable legal fees compared to proceeding to trial.
  • Quicker Resolution: FDR typically results in a faster resolution compared to lengthy court battles.
  • Control: Both parties have a say in the outcome, rather than leaving it entirely up to the discretion of the court.
  • Confidentiality: FDR proceedings are confidential, providing a more private and discreet resolution process.
  • Reduced Stress: By encouraging negotiation and communication, FDR can reduce the emotional stress often associated with family disputes.

Tips for a Successful FDR

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Ensure all financial documents and disclosures are complete and accurate.
  • Seek Early Legal Advice: Consult with experienced family law solicitors who can guide you through the process, set out your options, and advocate for your interests.
  • Open Communication: Be willing to communicate openly with the other party to find common ground.


Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) offers a cost-effective, efficient, and less adversarial way to reach an equitable resolution. By preparing diligently, seeking legal advice at your earliest opportunity, and maintaining open communication, you can increase your chances of a successful FDR and a fair resolution to your financial matters. Stowe Family Law are here to support you throughout this process, ensuring your rights and interests are protected.

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The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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