Family & Divorce

Changes to the Family Procedure Rules

From the 29th of April 2024, changes to the Family Procedure Rules (FPR) were introduced. The rules have been updated to place greater expectations on the court, family practitioners and families going through separation to use non-court-based methods to resolve financial and children matters.

26 Jun 2024

Team name
Callie Nimki

Callie Nimki

The previous Family Procedure Rules had been in place since 2010 and the update has been welcomed by family practitioners.

What are the Family Procedure Rules

The Family Procedure rules provide directions on the process and procedures used in the family court system in England and Wales. They are governed by the Family Procedure Rule Committee.

What changes have been made?

The updates are in relation to a wider definition of non-court dispute resolution (NCDR). The changes focus on mediation as well as collaborative divorce, arbitration, and private financial dispute resolutions.

Couples will now be required to genuinely consider out of court methods and set out their views on NCDR in open correspondence along with a signed statement of truth. Courts will have the power to adjourn proceedings if the Judge feels that NCDR would be more appropriate and can happen whether the couple agrees to it or not.

Previously, there were various circumstances that qualified for mediation exemption whereas now these will be narrowed down.

The aims of the changes are to relive pressure on the courts, support amicable dispute resolution between separating couples and also to support the wellbeing of children involved by keeping matters out of court.

What do these changes mean for me?

The above changes mean that you and your ex-partner will need to seriously consider NCDR available to you before applying to the court to resolve your finances/child arrangements. Failure to engage in NCDR without a valid reason (for example, the case involves domestic abuse) will likely come with cost sanctions, so it is important that you look into all options before a court application is made.

What are the types of non-court dispute resolution available?

There are various types of NCDR available to couples going through separation. It may be that one type of NCDR is more suited for you than others, however it will be helpful to look into all options available. They are as follows:

  • Mediation
  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Arbitration
  • Private Financial Dispute Resolution (otherwise known as a private FDR).

M&P Commentary

Callie Nimki, Solicitor in the Family team, said:

“The family team at Mullis & Peake have experience in dealing with different types of NCDR and will be able to advise you on the options available during your initial consultation and throughout your case.”

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