Be Prepared for Success: A Client’s Guide to Private FDRs

Facing a financial dispute after separation? A Private FDR or PFDR (Financial Dispute Resolution) can help you reach a fair settlement without the stress and cost of a full court hearing.

You can arrange for an experienced lawyer to sit as your ‘judge’ for the day. That judge can help you try and reach settlement with the other side, just like in court, but with two major differences:

  • The PFDR is where and when you choose; and
  • The PFDR judge has no other cases in their list. The sole focus is your case.

Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of this process.

Preparation is Key:

  • Early Offers: Don’t wait until the last minute! Submit your settlement offer at least 48 hours before the PFDR, ideally earlier. This gives everyone time to cool down (because in family finance cases, offers often cause emotional responses), allows your lawyer to build a strong case, and helps the judge understand the key issues.
  • The FDR Bundle: Consider this your case file for the judge. Deliver a complete bundle, including your offer(s), to the judge a week before the hearing. This gives them a chance to review the evidence and law before the PFDR.
  • Organize Your Requests: Work with your lawyer to create a clear table outlining all the points of disagreement in your and your ex-partner’s offers. This helps identify areas where compromise is most needed and might reveal seemingly big issues with minimal financial impact.
  • Your Lawyer’s Role: Your lawyer is your advocate. Their notes/ position statements, submitted before the FDR, should explain your situation, and address all core issues clearly and concisely. Avoid bogging them down with unnecessary details.

What to Expect from the Judge:

  • Realistic Outcomes: The PFDR judge’s job is to give you a fair and realistic idea of how a full court hearing might play out, based on legal principles and similar cases, not personal opinions.
  • Addressing Uncertainties: The judge can consider the case and offer an assessment of how certain aspects might influence the court’s decision. This “risk assessment” helps you make informed settlement choices.
  • Timely Advice: The judge’s “indication” about the potential outcome is most helpful early in the day, ideally before lunch. This gives you and your ex-partner ample time to discuss and negotiate while you’re fresh and focused.
  • Clear Communication: While a brief written summary of key points from the judge is helpful, lengthy documents can be counterproductive. They take time away from negotiation and might create the impression the judge’s mind is already made up.

By working together with your lawyer and following these tips, you can approach your Private FDR feeling prepared and confident about reaching a fair and amicable settlement.

Anvil Chambers Can Help:

Our team has extensive experience in Private FDRs, acting as both counsel and judges. Contact us at for more information.