Minnesota Early Neutral Evaluation
Social Early Neutral Evaluations – SENE
Social Early Neutral Evaluation is a voluntary and confidential process that allows individuals an opportunity to reach an earlier settlement while receiving information on what the outcome might be if there is a full-length custody study. Not only is this process confidential, it also saves the frustration and expense of repeated court appearances, court fees, evaluation fees, increased attorney fees, etc.
SENE’s involve two evaluators, one male and one female. Parties and their attorneys meet with the evaluators and each party “tells their story.” The evaluators listen, ask questions, and gather all the information they need to fully understand the case. After the information is gathered, the evaluators meet together to discuss the case and arrive at a consensus on how they believe the social issues would likely be resolved by a court. The participants then meet together again and the evaluators share their opinion with the parties and their attorneys. Both parties have an opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on the evaluator’s recommendations. From there, the parties and their attorneys can work with the evaluators to try to reach agreement on some or all issues.
Financial Early Neutral Evaluations – FENE
The FENE process differs from the SENE process in that the parties utilize only one evaluator. Most financial early neutral evaluators are family law attorneys or financial professionals with extensive experience in family law matters.
The evaluative process itself is similar to the SENE process. The parties and their attorneys meet with the evaluator and each party presents the facts of their case and their ideas and opinions as to how the financial matters should be resolved. The evaluator asks questions and gathers all relevant information. After a thorough review, the evaluator then gives his or her opinion on how the financial matters will likely be resolved by a court. From there, parties and their attorneys work with the evaluator to try to reach settlement on some or all issues.
Both processes are completely confidential. Except as expressly agreed to between the parties, no information or conversations from an ENE are shared with the judge.