If your matter proceeds to Court, the first hearing which will be listed will be a First Directions Appointment (FDA). At this hearing, the Judge will determine whether the parties have all the necessary financial information that they will need in order to begin negotiations. Should any information be outstanding, the Court will make an order for the same to be provided by the parties.
The second hearing would be a Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing. This hearing is listed to assist the parties to settle their matter. It is usually advisable to attempt to settle your matter at this hearing given that the next and final hearing would be where the Court will be making the decision on the parties’ behalf. At this hearing the Court will give an indication as to whether the parties will need to adjust their positions in terms of negotiations in the hope that the parties will take the advice and reach an agreement.
At the Final Hearing, the Court will hear evidence from you and your ex-partner and thereafter make a financial order which the Judge would believe is suitable for the parties.
At FDA or FDR hearings, sometimes it is not possible for these hearings to be effective due to information not being available to the Court or the parties. At other times, there may not be a Judge available for the hearing. It is therefore necessary to adjourn hearings and to have them relisted.
In other matters, there maybe individuals who have an interest in assets that belong to the parties and therefore they intervene into the proceedings to protect their interest. It is likely for the Court to list a further hearing to hear this application.
It is usually hoped that matters settle before the Final Hearing and parties are encouraged to do the same.