In today’s post, we’ll conclude our ongoing discussion of financial Early Neutral Evaluation, a court-ordered process in which divorcing spouses, each represented by an attorney, come together to resolve outstanding financial issues with the assistance of a certified neutral evaluator.
Aside from sparing spouses from some of the emotional upheaval that frequently accompanies divorce, the financial ENE process is also designed to save them both the time and money typically associated with prolonged divorce litigation.
What happens if the financial ENE process is successful?
If the two spouses are able to reach an agreement on the financial issues within the 60-day window allocated for the financial ENE process, the neutral evaluator will inform the court of this development. Thereafter, the neutral evaluator and the court will work with the spouses’ attorneys to create the necessary legally binding instruments.
What happens if the financial ENE process is unsuccessful?
Similarly, if the two spouses are unable to reach an agreement on the financial issues within the 60-day window allocated for the financial ENE process, the neutral evaluator will inform the court of this development. However, the presiding judge will then move to set a timeline for discovery, and make the necessary pretrial and trial schedule.
What exactly is the neutral evaluator permitted to share with the judge?
The neutral evaluator will only inform the judge whether the parties were able to come to an agreement and will say nothing of the actual financial ENE process. However, if the divorcing spouses provide written consent, the neutral evaluator can suggest to the judge that divorce alternatives would prove helpful or identify any issues that are holding up a settlement.
Can anything from the financial ENE process be used at trial?
All discussions, statements and actions taken by the parties, their attorneys or the neutral evaluator during the financial ENE process are considered confidential, and may not be admitted into evidence at a subsequent trial.
It’s important to understand, however, that this same prohibition does not apply to documents used during the process and otherwise available to the divorcing spouses via the discovery process
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you would like to learn more about divorce or, more specifically, the financial ENE process.