Monday February 19, 2018

FAMILY LAW: Should You Use an Early Neutral Evaluation for Custody Settlement?

Emotions can cloud even the best parent in his or her decisions regarding the custodial arrangements involving their child in a paternity or divorce proceeding. In the past two decades, Minnesota courts developed various methods to assist parents in reaching resolution of these custody disputes without resorting to expensive and time-consuming trial. One of these methods involves attending an early neutral evaluation (ENE) session.

Typically an ENE session has the parties, and possibly their counsel, attend a meeting with a two-member team (usually a man and a woman who are experienced in family law resolution) in the beginning stage of the proceeding before litigants can get entrenched into their positions. In an ENE, parties can openly voice their concerns and requests for custody and receive prompt responses and answers from these evaluators. Often parties get feedback on the likely outcome of their case were it to go to trial. Parties who reach an agreement may have it promptly submitted to the court for an order. Although a high percentage of litigants who attend an ENE reach agreement, parties are not required to reach a resolution. Also some parents may not be suitable candidates for an ENE session.

Parents benefit from legal representation in the preparation for and attendance at an ENE regarding custody matters. We have extensive experience in Minnesota family law courts and can help parents to keep custodial rights to their children whether in an ENE or other litigation methods including trial.

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