Following Hennepin County’s lead, and a statewide trend, the Anoka County District Court has implemented a pilot early neutral evaluation program for divorcing couples. The evaluations focus on the two key issues involved in a dissolution: custody of children and economics.

Couples can divert from the court system and meet with qualified “neutrals” who will facilitate settlement discussions and (unlike traditional mediation) offer opinions about the merits of a party’s position. If successful, the process can save litigants months of emotionally-charged litigation and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and costs.

Five Anoka County judges have agreed to participate in the program, including Judge Sharon Hall who says that the early neutral process will allow litigants to “keep some control over their situation.” The family law section of the Anoka County Bar Association has been a driving force behind the program, which provides litigants with yet another alternative to traditional litigation.

One big difference between the program in Anoka and Hennepin County involves funding. While Hennepin County covers the bulk of the costs for litigants, the Anoka County program has a very limited budget. Work is done by local lawyers, not county employees, on a sliding fee scale.

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Photo of Jason C. Brown Jason C. Brown

Jason C. Brown has represented a wide variety of family law clients over the last 20 years, including teachers, homemakers, union construction workers, doctors, truck drivers, accountants, business owners, engineers, lawyers, mortgage brokers and Fortune 500 executives. Many of his cases have involved…

Jason C. Brown has represented a wide variety of family law clients over the last 20 years, including teachers, homemakers, union construction workers, doctors, truck drivers, accountants, business owners, engineers, lawyers, mortgage brokers and Fortune 500 executives. Many of his cases have involved complex custody disputes, alimony claims, and high net worth individuals, including several divorces in which the value of the marital estate exceeded ten million dollars. Every client, no matter their background, is important to Jason.

Jason routinely provides mediation services for family court litigants. He was a longtime board member and corporate secretary for Northgate Church in Ramsey. Early in his career, Jason served as law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District.