Financial early neutral evaluation in Minnesota is growing in popularity. Many counties (including Hennepin, Anoka, Dakota, Ramsey, Wright, Chisago, Isanti, and Scott) are now offering the litigants in a contested divorce an opportunity to participate in an Early Neutral Evaluation.
Some evaluations involve custody and parenting time issues, while others involve purely financial issues — the child support, spousal maintenance, and property division within a case. This is called a Financial Early Neutral Evaluation, or an “FENE.”
The process looks something like mediation, and something like arbitration. The parties will meet with a court-appointed neutral who has a certain level of expertise in the financial issues relating to marriage. They are typically a retired judge, CPA, or experienced family practitioner.
Each side, with their lawyers, will have an opportunity to present all the relevant information concerning the party’s assets and liabilities, along with their income and ongoing expenses.
Once all the information presented, the evaluator will take a break and return with an opinion as to the likely outcome if the case went to trial.
The parties will then begin a dialogue concerning how to divide their assets and debts in a fair and equitable manner, and what type of an alimony award is appropriate, and for how long.
With an 80% settlement success rate, we strongly encourage clients to participate in an FENE. Even if the county your case is venued in does not have an FENE program, we can privately retain a neutral to assist us.
The benefits in resolving your divorce through FENE are considerable. First, you can save significant attorney’s fees as part of the dissolution process. Second, you will save significant time; rather than having a case litigated for a year or two, your dissolution will be resolved in a period of months. Finally, you have direct control over the case outcome — rather than a judge telling you how life is going to be.
We’re here to help if you have financial early neutral evaluation questions. Call (763) 323-6555 to arrange a consultation.