Get in touch

FHDRA – First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointment – Your Guide

Going to court can be a stressful experience, especially when there are children involved. Knowing how a hearing regarding child arrangements will work and what you could expect in advance, can help to ease your anxiety.

In this article, we will take a look at what may await you at your First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA).

 

Before we get started, it’s useful to outline at what happens before the FHDRA

Unless you are exempt, it’s necessary to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting) before making an application to Court.

If it is established at the MIAM that the issues cannot be resolved by mediation (or indeed the case is not suitable for it), you can then apply to court.

The relevant documents should then be served to the respondent. CAFCASS (Children & Families Court Advisory & Support Service) will also begin to make safeguarding checks, which may involve a phone call to you and the other parent.

The FHDRA will then take place, normally at least 4 weeks after the application to Court has been made.

FHDRA

 

What is the purpose of the FHDRA? 

The FHDRA is the first court hearing. It is there so that the Court can look at the issues and make decisions about how your case should be progressed.

At this stage, it is helpful if both parties come to court with clear ideas of what they would like to happen in terms of child arrangements.

If you and the other parent can agree what you would like to happen at this stage, the Court may make a final order and your case could come to an end, without the need for any further court hearings.

If an agreement is not possible, the Court may make various directions in order to move your case forward.

It could be that the Court requires more evidence on a certain issue. For example, drugs testing could be ordered.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to schedule in a Fact Finding Hearing. This can happen if, for example, there are allegations of domestic abuse.

Equally, CAFCASS could be ordered to prepare a report. This could take more than 3 months to be completed, so the next court hearing would be scheduled after this time, if this report was necessary.

The Court may make temporary child arrangements orders, although this does not always happen.

 

The importance of the FHDRA should not be underestimated

The outcome of the FHDRA can vary greatly, depending on your individual circumstances. Obtaining legal advice so that you fully understand what your options are and what the potential outcomes could be, is highly recommended.

Attending your first court hearing can be stressful, especially when there are children involved. Knowing what to expect at the First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointment – or FHDRA for short – can help to relieve some of the pressure and make the experience feel less daunting.

 

Before we get started, it’s useful to outline what happens before the FHDRA

Unless you are exempt, it’s necessary to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting) before making an application to the Court.

If it is established at the MIAM that the issues cannot be resolved by mediation (or indeed the case is not suitable for it), you can then apply to the court.

The relevant documents should then be served to the respondent. Cafcass (Children & Families Court Advisory & Support Service) will also begin to make safeguarding checks, which may involve a phone call to you and the other parent.

The FHDRA hearing will then take place, normally at least 4 weeks after the application to Court has been made.

 

FHDRA Meeting

The FHDRA is the first court hearing. It is there so that the Court can look at the issues and make decisions about how your case should be progressed.

It is helpful if both parties come to the FHDRA hearing with clear ideas of what they would like to happen in terms of child arrangements.

If you and the other parent can reach an agreement about child arrangements at the FHDRA hearing, the Court may make a final order and your case could come to an end, without the need for any further court hearings.

If an agreement is not possible at the FHDRA hearing, the Court may make various directions in order to move your case forward.

It could be that the Court requires more evidence on a certain issue. For example, drugs testing could be ordered.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to schedule in a Fact Finding Hearing. This can happen if, for example, there are allegations of domestic abuse.

Equally, Cafcass could be ordered to prepare a report. This could take more than 3 months to be completed, so the next court hearing (after the FHDRA hearing) would be scheduled after this time, if this report was necessary.

The Court may make temporary child arrangements orders at the FHDRA, although this does not always happen.

 

Dispute Resolution

The First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointment is known as such because, as well as the Court considering the issues and making decisions about how the case should progress, one of the main purposes of the FHDRA hearing is dispute resolution. At the First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointment, the Court will encourage both parties to reach an agreement regarding child arrangements. If everything can be agreed at the FHDRA hearing, the court could make a final order and the case could come to an end.

Of course, if possible, it is normally best to attempt to reach an agreement before the FHDRA. If both parties can agree child arrangements between themselves, or through another dispute resolution method such as mediation, asking a court to decide the child arrangements will not be necessary.

 

The importance of the FHDRA hearing should not be underestimated

The outcome of the FHDRA hearing can vary greatly, depending on your individual circumstances. Obtaining legal advice before the FHDRA, so that you fully understand what your options are and what the potential outcomes could be, is highly recommended.

 

How can our expert divorce solicitors help you?

Our expert divorce solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues:

 

Contact our expert divorce solicitors for divorce advice

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

 

Our expert divorce solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in our:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Sheffield Office: Pinfold Street, The Balance, Sheffield, S1 2GU

Manchester Office: King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

London Office: 01 Nothumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW

Please contact us for more details.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

10th August 2018

Make the first move

Find out how we can help you, call us on
0333 311 0925 or email us today.

Contact Us
Back to Top