Early Neutral Evaluation
Early neutral evaluations were the creation of the Hennepin County Family Court system to find a way in which divorcing parties could obtain a neutral opinion of what the potential outcome might be if their case were to move forward and be presented in a trial to a judge. Using attorneys and mental health professionals who have been trained as mediators, completed the ENE training process and approved as evaluators allows such a neutral opinion to be obtained. There are two types of ENE. The Social ENE addresses custody and parenting time issues. The Financial ENE addresses the child support, spousal maintenance and the remaining financial issues of the dissolution.
From Susan's interview for the Masters of Family Law series on ReelLawyers.com.
Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE)
SENE is a voluntary confidential process designed to help families resolve custody and parenting time matters in a short time after the initial filing of the court action. The SENE is frequently performed by a two person team, usually a male and female evaluator with one an experienced family law attorney and the other an experienced mental health professional. The parties present information, their concerns and requests and the evaluators offer their evaluative impressions of the dispute and work to help parties resolve their differences.
Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE)
The FENE is a voluntary alternative dispute resolution process designed to help families with financial disputes who would be helped by the informed recommendations of a neutral evaluator. The process is centered on saving resources and avoiding litigation. During the FENE, each party presents information to the FENE evaluator who will share her view of the issues with the parties and their attorneys before facilitating settlement. The FENE is a confidential process such that the positions of the parties and the opinions of the FENE evaluator cannot be used in court.