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Family Court Hearings: FHDRA, DRA and Fact Finding Hearings


Facing court proceedings of any sort can be stressful but when the matter involves your family, we understand your emotions may be heightened and that the worry can feel more acute.

Lanyon Bowdler are a team of supportive and experienced legal professionals who can help you to navigate the family courts and find the very best and most positive solution for everyone involved.

From First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointments through to Final Hearings, our first-class family lawyers will provide you with the representation, assistance and reassurance that you need.

Family court hearings explained

If you are involved in a family law case, you may be required to attend the family court, which primarily makes decisions about children and financial issues affecting the family, particularly in the event of a separation, divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

Although every effort is made to settle all the issues away from court through negotiation and discussion, where a resolution is not found court proceedings will be initiated.

First Hearing and Dispute Resolution Appointments (FHDRA)

If mediation has not resulted in a solution for the issue you are facing, it is up to the family court to make a decision in the interests of all parties, particularly any children involved. The first hearing is designed to try and resolve any disputes at an early stage, allowing you to present your case.

Along with the judge and your legal representative, a CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer may also be present, to make recommendations to the court.

If an agreement is reached, a court order will be issued setting out the details, but if matters are not settled, further hearings will be held.

Dispute Resolution Appointment

This subsequent hearing will once again attempt to resolve the ongoing issues and will examine any new or additional information, such as a report from the CAFCASS officer. If a solution is still not found, a final hearing will be scheduled by the judge where the court will make a decision and issue the appropriate order detailing the arrangements that need to be made.

Fact Finding Hearing

A Fact Finding Hearing is held when allegations are made that could affect the court’s decision with regards to the arrangements for the children.  A Fact Finding Hearing will  gather all the background information about a family’s particular circumstances and the issues waiting to be resolved.

The court  will examine the evidence and cross-examine all parties to determine the truth behind the accusations.

At this point statements will be presented and any witnesses can be brought before the court.

I am worried about going to court. Do I have to attend?

While we always aim to resolve everything before court proceedings are required, it is important you attend any family court hearings, so that you are able to put your case forward.  Your legal representative from Lanyon Bowdler will be by your side throughout, and will present your case professionally and effectively  and will aim to bring proceedings to a swift conclusion through discussion and negotiation.

If you are unable to attend a hearing for any reason, it can be possible to adjourn at the judge’s discretion, but it is usual that the court want to avoid delays wherever possible, to minimise the pressure and upset felt by all involved, particularly any children.

Why we care

At Lanyon Bowdler, we understand just how important your family is to you and we are dedicated to helping you resolve the issues you are facing as quickly as possible. We know that you just want to move on with your life and provide stability for your children, so we aim to conclude cases at the earliest stage and can utilise our expertise in collaborative law.

We pride ourselves on consistently delivering the outstanding customer service you deserve and are the legal firm of choice for all areas of family and child law.

How we can help

Among our lawyers you will find members of the Law Society Family Panel and accredited specialists of Resolution, a national organisation of leading family lawyers. Our family law team are highly accomplished and experienced in dealing with sensitive and difficult cases and have the expertise required to bring matters to a swift and effective close.

We will take our time to get to know you and your family so that we are able to provide you with the very best bespoke legal service. We will provide you with clear and straightforward advice at all times, without the confusing legal jargon too often used by legal professionals.

We will be extremely thorough in our examination of the evidence and preparation of your case, including calling witnesses and gathering statements and will effectively represent and support you in all hearings.

How much will it cost?

At Lanyon Bowdler, we believe that our expert, legal representation should be available to everyone and we offer a choice of flexible payment plans, such as pay as you go and fixed fee arrangements, to make this possible. We provide a service of the highest quality that represents real value for money so to discuss our costs in more detail feel free to call and speak to a member of our team.

Contact Lanyon Bowdler’s Family Law Solicitors

By choosing to work with Lanyon Bowdler, you are guaranteed leading representation for your family law case. We are a highly experienced and knowledgeable team of family law solicitors, who will use our expertise to help you and your family, providing not only legal representation but understanding and support as well. 

We are one of the leading full-service law firms in the region. We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford but your location is no barrier to the help we can offer, as we regularly represent clients nationally. We would encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible to find out more about how we can help.  

Contact us today by calling our office or by completing our online enquiry form.


I was impressed with the efficiency and welcome of staff. Excellent office layout and service.  

- Mrs S James & Mr W Parkinson, Telford

A warm welcome from the receptionist. Extremely impressed by all that have helped us, peace of mind for our future.

- Mr M Court & Mrs A May, Shrewsbury

Always very efficient in dealing with the workload and advice given in divorce. Would highly recommend the service I received. 

- Mrs Suzanne Purvin

Knowledge and information given was accurate and realistic.

- Mrs Eleanor Margaret Howells, Hereford

Very efficient, pleasant and fully explained. I am well satisfied.

- Mr Stephen Turner, Oswestry

Friendly atmosphere and very professional attitude. 

- Mr Sidney Jolliffe, Oswestry

Advice was sensible and informative. It allowed me to make the decisions with understanding potential concequences. 

- Mr Paul Simon Burgoyne, Hereford

They listened to my worries and my concerns, which put me at ease and made me feel that I completely had someone in my corner fighting for myself and children's best interests. 

- Miss Deborah Lisa Bradley, Shrewsbury & Oswestry

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