Listen to this post

Minnesota’s judicial system handles a vast family caseload involving everything from custody and parenting time to financial concerns. In an effort to expedite the resolution process, the state maintains an option known as early neutral evaluation. Designed in hopes of facilitating a mutually beneficial outcome, ENE may allow involved parties to avoid the most time-consuming and stressful elements of the divorce process.

Early Neutral Evaluation Versus Early Case Management

The Minnesota judicial system uses multiple processes to resolve cases promptly and effectively. Some share similar names. Early neutral evaluation and early case management are among the most often confused terms. ECM references aggressive court-based case management while ENE is voluntary and confidential — and designed to be purely evaluative.

How Does Early Neutral Evaluation Work?

During the ENE process, both parties meet with a neutral evaluator who cannot advocate on behalf of either person. Social ENEs may be called upon for issues such as custody or parenting time, while financial ENEs handle alimony and property division. Depending on the situation, multiple evaluators may be called upon to assist spouses. These individuals listen carefully to information presented by both sides before offering their thoughts on how a judge might rule. The insight they provide can prove highly valuable as participants proceed with divorce.

ENE is certainly not for everybody, but it can be a viable option for many Minnesota couples looking to gain a fresh start. Still, it’s worth seeking counsel from a trusted family attorney. Your lawyer can help you determine if ENE is appropriate for your situation — and how best to proceed.

If you’d like to learn more about the early neutral evaluation process or other family law essentials in Minnesota, don’t be afraid to reach out. Contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. today for more information or to schedule a consultation.