Private Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) and Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) are out of court options. An experienced lawyer gives a view on potential outcomes to help you reach a decision.
What's a private Financial Dispute Resolution?
If you make an application to court for a decision on the financial consequences of your divorce, for example how to deal with your family home, a business or pension sharing, the court sets out a timetable and process. One step in that process is the FDR which encourages settlement.
Private FDRs are exactly the same but instead of being in court with whatever judge happens to be allocated to you, you choose the experienced solicitor, barrister or retired judge that you want to give the guidance.
What's Early Neutral Evaluation?
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is the same but tends to be the term used where the dispute is about children.
What are the advantages?
Private FDRs and ENEs are becoming increasingly popular. The main advantages are speed (the court process can take many months) and the knowledge that on the day of your hearing you'll be the only case that your judge is dealing with.
What happens if we still can't reach agreement?
In both cases, the FDR or ENE "judge" won't make the decision for you. If you can't reach agreement, you will need to have a full hearing at court or appoint an arbitrator to rule on it.
Due to its advantages, out family team is recommending private FDRs and ENEs in more and more cases.
Here is a recent example of how they can work well.
We were advising a very high-earning father on support for his daughter when he had split up with his partner. They had agreed on the house that was going to be provided for the child to live in with her mother but not on the monthly maintenance and various other financial issues.
We booked in a private FDR well in advance so that everyone knew when the discussions would be taking place and could prepare. On the day, we managed to get everything agreed so that they all knew where they stood and could get on with their lives.