Private FDRs in Family Law: An Alternative Dispute Resolution Method

When it comes to family law disputes, the traditional method of litigation can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining for all parties involved. This has led to the rise of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as private financial dispute resolution (FDR) hearings. In this article, we will explore the use of private FDRs in family law and their benefits.

What are Private FDRs in Family Law?

Private FDRs in family law are a form of ADR that allows parties in a dispute to resolve their financial issues outside of the courtroom. It involves a private hearing where an independent financial expert acts as a judge, assisting the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement. This is often a barrister, solicitor, or retired judge.

The “judge” will listen to both parties’ arguments, review their financial documentation, and provide an assessment of the case’s strengths and weaknesses. They will then facilitate negotiations between the parties, with the aim of reaching a settlement that is fair and equitable.

Benefits of Private FDRs in Family Law

  1. Cost-Effective: Private FDRs are often more cost-effective than litigation. This is because the parties only need to pay for the financial expert’s time, rather than the legal fees and court costs associated with a traditional trial. Traditionally, if a court-based FDR

  2. Confidentiality: Private FDRs are confidential, which means that the parties can discuss sensitive financial information without the risk of it becoming public knowledge.

  3. Time-Saving: Private FDRs are typically completed within a day convenient to the parties, compared to a lengthy court process that can take months or even years.

  4. Voluntary: Private FDRs are voluntary, which means that the parties can choose to participate or not. This gives them more control over the process and the outcome.

  5. Greater Flexibility: Private FDRs are more flexible than court proceedings, as the parties can choose the venue, timing, and format that works best for them.


Private FDRs are an effective and efficient way to resolve financial disputes in family law. They offer a range of benefits over traditional litigation, including cost-effectiveness, confidentiality, time-saving, and greater flexibility. As such, they are becoming an increasingly popular ADR method in family law disputes.

At Anvil Chambers, we have facilities for hosting private FDR hearings, whether we are assisting as the FDR ‘judge’ or representing one of the parties. For help, contact