Early Neutral Evaluation

What is an early neutral evaluation and how is it different from mediation?

An early neutral evaluation (social or financial) is a three to four hour meeting designed to provide a forum for both parties to give their side of the story (similar to what they might argue in court) and to have a neutral evaluator give their opinion about what a judge might decide in their case. The purpose of the early neutral evaluation is to give parties an idea of what may happen if they bring their case to trial. An early neutral evaluation is not a substitute for a full custody evaluation or for hiring a financial expert because it is not as in depth and does not usually involve the review of documentation or discussions with third parties. Instead, it is an opportunity to see what it might look like to proceed with those services before the time and money is spent on them. More importantly, it is an opportunity to, after hearing the neutral's opinion, try to settle the issues presented.

What is an SENE?

An SENE (social early neutral evaluation) is an evaluation of custody and parenting time issues and involves two evaluators.

What is an FENE?

An FENE (financial early neutral evaluation) is an evaluation of financial issues such as division of assets and debts and spousal maintenance and usually involves one evaluator.

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