Minnesota Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)

Cindy Perusse
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...
Perusse Family Law PLLC
Perusse Family Law PLLC
Expertise.com Best Lawyer - Cindy Perusse

Contact Us


Early Neutral Evaluation in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is an alternative means of settling divorce and child custody cases.  It takes place outside of the traditional courtroom setting.  Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is voluntary, meaning no one is required to participate.  It is also confidential, which means the details of any negotiations are kept solely amongst the parties to the process. However, if an agreement is reached, confidentiality is waived as to the agreement so that the agreement can be enforced.

Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is meant to reduce the time and costs of divorce and child custody cases by helping parties reach an agreement in their case. It is generally completed within ninety days, while a case that goes to trial can take up to a year or longer. The parties to the case must pay the costs of the Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE); however, the costs are determined by a sliding scale.

The Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) process is only chosen once divorce paperwork is filed, and after the parties attend an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC).  The parties to the case, or their lawyers, pick professionals from a court-selected list who will listen to and review their case and provide an opinion as to a reasonable solution. In a Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE), usually both a male and female evaluator are selected for both the male and female point. In a Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE), only one evaluator is chosen.

The Early Neutral Evaluation Process

There are two types of Early Neutral Evaluation, social and financial.  Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE) pertains to all custody and parenting time issues.  Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE) deals with the division of property and debts, as well as child support and spousal support (maintenance). 

The whole process of Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) takes place in an informal setting. The parties are usually in the same room as each other, but they may not be in some instances. Each person is asked questions by the evaluators and given an opportunity to speak.

If the parties are in the same room, they are not permitted to interrupt the other while it is their turn to talk. The parties are required to stay calm and not make any gestures or reactions, while the other side is speaking.

After the evaluators speak with the parties, they meet in private. When they return, they give the parties their opinion as to what may happen if the case were to go before the court. The parties are then given the opportunity to negotiate to try to reach an agreement on all or as many of the issues as possible.

If an agreement is reached, in whole or in part, the evaluators inform the court.  If only a partial agreement is reached, the parties can continue to negotiate, but if they are not able to resolve the remaining issues, the court must then decide them. Should no agreements be reached, the parties can continue to negotiate or may attempt a different form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). If the parties are not able to agree, the court will decide all matters at trial.

Experienced Minneapolis, Minnesota, Family Law Attorneys Can Help

It is imperative to be aware of what types of issues you need to resolve before entering into an Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE), or if Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is even the right path for you.  An experienced family law attorney can help you choose whether or not to participate in Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE), and ensure you are prepared if you decide to do so.   

Cindy Perusse is also trained in the Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) process and provides social and financial ENE services.

Speak with a professional Minnesota family law attorney today.  The attorneys at Perusse Family Law PLLC can help you identify what issues to focus on at Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) and make sure the right evaluators are on your case.  Contact Perusse Family Law PLLC for a consultation to find out if Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is the right choice for you. 

Perusse Family Law PLLC

Client Testimonials