Minnesota Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is a form of alternative dispute resolution that happens early in the litigation process. The couple meets with a Judge and they have a short discussion of the issues, the costs of litigating versus the benefits of settling and how ENE can help them resolve their case. If the parties choose to try ENE, they hire an Evaluator from an approved list of professionals.
The Evaluators typically work in teams consisting of a family law attorney, a CPA or marriage and family therapist. They listen to each party’s side of the case, assess the strengths and weaknesses and give their opinion of the likely outcome should it go to court. While it isn’t mediation, the parties are invited to use the process to craft their own settlement based upon the feedback they receive. The
Evaluators can also assist with scheduling discovery or arrange for additional sessions if the parties wish to continue in the process.
Cindy Perusse has specific training in Early Neutral Evaluations and has a published article about the process in The Colorado Lawyer