If your hearing is listed as a First Directions Appointment (FDA), then:
- You need to attend court with your lawyer. You are directed to attend 30 minutes before the hearing time to allow for discussions before the start of the hearing to see what matters can be agreed between the parties
- You will not be expected to speak to the Judge (unless you are representing yourself)
- The purpose of the hearing is to set out what additional information the Judge (and parties) need to have to be able to discuss possible terms of settlement. This could include reports as to pension values and prospective income, and valuations of properties or businesses.
- Before the hearing, you will each have prepared a questionnaire on the other’s Form E. A party can choose to volunteer answers before the FDA but if this has not been done, the Judge can be asked to decide if the questions asked are fair and relevant to the issues, and he will then order that the questionnaire is replied to within a set period.
- A judge might decide at the hearing that the case could be settled and encourage both of you to try to negotiate a settlement. It will be a matter for you and your lawyer if you take that on board at this point.