This week I’m explaining the difference between a First Appointment and a FDR Appointment after Financial Disclosure in Divorce. Why is this important? Because if you understand the difference you can “speed up” the Court timetable and reach an early conclusion. I’ll explain it as clearly as possible but if you’re at all unsure what to do, please get advice from an expert family lawyer.
The Court timetable
Here’s a reminder of the Court timetable. In last week’s blog – What happens after financial disclosure in divorce – part 2 – I dealt with the first three documents but not the fourth.
“Not less than 14 days before the First Appointment you must file with the Court and serve on each other:
- concise statement of the issues
- questionnaire setting out any further information and documents requested
- notice stating whether you will be in a position at the First Appointment to proceed to a FDR Appointment”
So what is document number 4 all about?
Notice stating whether you will be in a position at the First Appointment to proceed on that occasion to a FDR Appointment
Once you understand what this Notice is getting at, it’s really easy to complete. But first you need to know what’s likely to happen at the First Appointment. And you need to understand the importance of the FDR Appointment (“FDR” stands for Financial Dispute Resolution).
What’s the First Appointment all about? I’ll give you some pointers. But it’s important to remember that if your case involves valuable property, a business or pensions, and/or your ex is uncooperative, it’s a good idea to get advice from an expert family lawyer.
Before the hearing
- You’ll have exchanged your documents with your ex and both of you will have filed them in the Court.
- Don’t forget to fill in Form H with details of your costs.
At the hearing
- Hand you Form H to your ex and to the Court.
- Ask the Court to order expert evidence, often vital for pensions and businesses. Also helpful if eg
- you can’t agree the valuation of the family home
- your ex is saying they can’t earn an income because of poor health and you don’t agree
- You will also ask the Court to order your ex to answer the questions you have raised in your questionnaire.
Matrimonial finances in the “fast lane”
But it’s possible to ask the Court for a FDR Appointment instead of a First Appointment. How? You fill in the “Notice stating whether you will be in a position at the First Appointment to proceed to a FDR Appointment” sent to you by the Court. This means you will “leapfrog” to the next hearing and so speed up the Court process.
What’s the FDR Appointment
At the FDR the Court will:
- encourage you to come to an agreement and
- the Court will give you an indication of what it thinks a fair outcome would be.
This can be a real wake up call for some.
When to bypass the First Appointment and aim straight for the FDR
- You’re happy with your ex’s financial disclosure, and you
- Don’t need expert evidence, but
- Can’t agree a financial settlement.
What happens if you can’t agree a settlement at the FDR
This is the subject of my next blog.
What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – Part 3
Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – part 3. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.
The topics covered in this blog post What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – Part 3 are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.
image for What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – Part 3 Mavericks by Shalom Jacobovitz Wikimedia Commons This image has been digitally manipulated