Early Neutral Evaluation has two (2) components: Social Early Neutral Evaluation, also known as SENE [dealing with custody and parenting time issues]; and Financial Early Neutral Evaluation, also referred to as FENE [addressing all financial issues in a divorce]. The Early Neutral Evaluation process is voluntary. If both spouses agree to utlilize the process and the Court determines that the process may be helpful in achieving a settlement, the Court Orders both parties and their respective counsel to attend the Early Neutral Evaluation Process.
The following counties have Early Neutral Evaluation Programs: Anoka County, Dakota County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Washington County.
The Early Neutral Evaluation process is completely confidential. Before the Early Neutral Evaluation session, specifically the FENE session, the evaluator typically collects information from both attorneys. Whatever is said by either party at the session cannot be used later by either party in any Court hearings. After both parties and or their respective counsel have presented their case, the Evaluator “evaluates” the case and in essence, informs the parties of how a Judge may view and/or decide their respective positions. Neither party is obligated to accept the Evaluator’s opinion; however, in many instances, the Evaluator’s opinion paves the way for the parties to settle the case.
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