First Hearing Dispute Resolution Appointment (FHDRA)

Posted on Monday, 31st Aug, 2015 at 12:04:50 AM
Before the first hearing.

In some cases you may be told to do something before you go to court for the first hearing; if so you will receive an order from the court. For example, you may have to provide a summary explaining what progress you and your ex have made in producing a Parenting Plan or attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting if you have not been to one, and the Judge decides that you have wrongly claimed to be exempt.

The first hearing usually takes place about 4-6 weeks after you start your case. You and the respondent must both attend. If you do not turn up, the court can refuse your application or go ahead without you. It the respondent does not turn up, the court can go ahead as long as it thinks the respondent knew about the hearing. If neither of you attend, the court may refuse your application.

The hearing usually lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour. You will meet a judge and a Cafcass officer

If the court cannot make a final order, it will make an order for directions. This is a list of instructions telling you and your ex (or other family member) what to do and when and is how the court manages the case to make sure it makes progress.

Unless the court otherwise directs, any party to proceedings, and any litigation friend of the parties must attend this (and any other) hearing. If a child is a party and represented by a childrens guardian, the childrens guardian need not attend directions hearings if represented.

A party may choose to be accompanied at this (or any) hearing by a McKenzie Friend to support them (a McKenzie Friend is someone who can provide moral support at court for the party; take notes; help with case papers; quietly give advice on any aspect of the conduct of the case.) If so, the McKenzie Friend must comply with the relevant Guidance (currently set out in the Practice Guidance: McKenzie Friends (Civil and Family Courts): July 2010.


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