Early Neutral Evaluation

Early neutral evaluation is a dispute resolution process that has gained substantial momentum in the last 15 years. The parties, and lawyers, meet with an expert in a confidential, non-binding process designed to facilitate a final agreement. That session takes place early in the case, before litigants become entrenched in their positions.

More and more Minnesota counties are providing divorce litigants with an opportunity to resolve their financial issues through a process known as “Financial Early Neutral Evaluation.” Settlement success rates in the FENE model are astonishing – as high as 75% in some jurisdictions.

An FENE involves a half-day session (or two, or three, or four)

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