How to keep calm and feel confident during your Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) Hearing

Piece of paper torn down the middle with word divorce written on it. Two wedding rings are on top of the paper

It's completely understandable to feel nervous before your FDR, after all, it's a pivotal moment in your divorce journey. FDR hearings can feel very overwhelming and you might be feeling really anxious. But with some preparation and the right mindset, you can navigate your FDR feeling confident and composed.

Here are some tips to help you prepare.

Knowledge is Power

Empower yourself with knowledge. Take some time to thoroughly familiarise yourself with the proposed financial settlement agreement.  Understanding the details will allow you to ask insightful questions and actively participate in the discussion. Don't hesitate to clarify anything unclear with your lawyer beforehand. If you are representing yourself read and re-read the agreement until you are really comfortable with it.

Gather Your Arsenal

Bring copies of all relevant paperwork to your FDR. This includes financial statements, tax documents, property deeds, and anything else your lawyer advises might be needed for reference. Having everything organised and accessible shows the court you've been proactive and engaged in the process. Put it all in a ring binder with tabs so that you can find relevant documents easily. 

Plan for Potential Bumps

While you might hope for a smooth sailing, anticipate potential roadblocks. Discuss with your lawyer any concerns you might have about certain aspects of the settlement. If you are self-representing, put yourself into your ex partners shoes. Anticipate their defence and plan your response. Having a pre-established strategy helps you navigate unexpected twists and ensures you don't feel caught off guard.

Mindset Matters

Focus on Resolution: It's easy to get bogged down in the past during a divorce. You might be feeling angry or betrayed. Put these feelings aside and instead, remind yourself that the FDR is a chance to finalise financial matters and move forward with a clean slate.

Detach from the Emotion:  The FDR is a legal process, not a therapy session.  Approach the situation professionally and try to detach from emotional responses. Remember, the goal here is to reach a fair financial settlement, not rehash past grievances. Don’t get into a blame-game. 

Positive Self-Talk is Your friend:  Negative thoughts can quickly chip away at your confidence. Counter them with positive affirmations. "I am strong," "I am prepared," and "I will navigate this calmly" are powerful mantras to repeat in the lead-up to the FDR.

Preparation Pays Off

Dress for Success: Feeling confident in what you wear can translate to increased confidence in your demeanor. Choose something professional and polished that makes you feel empowered.

Pack for the Journey:  Being prepared extends beyond legalities. Pack a bottle of water to stay hydrated, a notepad to jot down notes, and maybe even a book to occupy your mind in case of unexpected delays. Painkillers are always handy for stress-induced headaches. Try to arrive early so you’re not worrying about the journey.

Confidence is in the Details:

Non-verbal Communication Matters: Maintain good posture, make eye contact with your lawyer (they're your advocate!), and avoid fidgeting.  These small details project confidence and show you're engaged in the process. If you start feeling anxious or upset try some deep breathing exercises to re-focus your mind.

Communicate Clearly

Speak with Clarity and Concision: While it's important to have your voice heard, avoid rambling or emotional outbursts. Stick to the facts and address the judge or mediator directly.

Listen Attentively:  Hear what your ex and their lawyer have to say, but resist the urge to interrupt. When it's your turn, respond directly to the topic at hand, avoiding personal attacks or blame games.

If you have a lawyer Let them Lead the Charge:  You hired an expert for a reason! Trust your lawyer to handle the legal discussions and negotiations. Briefly discuss any concerns beforehand, but during the FDR, let them take the lead and represent you professionally.


Take Breaks if Needed:  The courtroom environment can be stressful. If emotions threaten to rise, discreetly request a short break from your lawyer. Take a few deep breaths, splash some water on your face, or step outside for some fresh air.

Focus on the Future:  The FDR might feel like the climax of a difficult situation, but remember, it's also a stepping stone towards a brighter future. Once finalised, you can start focusing on healing and rebuilding your life.

Additional Tips:

  • Find Your Support System: Surround yourself with positive, supportive friends who can be your emotional anchors during this challenging time.
  • Prioritise Self-Care: Taking care of yourself physically and mentally is crucial. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and schedule activities you enjoy.
  • Seek Professional Support if Needed: Don't hesitate to seek therapy or coaching to navigate the emotional complexities of divorce.

Good luck!

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