While most people understand that divorce litigation can be costly, time-consuming and emotionally taxing, they may fail to appreciate the degree to which this can prove to be the case.
Fortunately, the legal system does account for this reality, offering spouses who perhaps underestimated the time, money and emotional toll of divorce litigation the chance to pursue alternatives such as mediation or collaborative divorce.
Similarly, the courts here in Minnesota may direct the divorcing spouses to take part in what is known as the financial Early Neutral Evaluation process.
What exactly is financial Early Neutral Evaluation?
As implied by the name, the financial ENE process involves a third party providing the spouses with an unbiased evaluation of one or more financial issues early in the divorce process in the hopes that it will produce a mutually acceptable settlement prior to the commencement of what could prove to be costly and prolonged litigation.
In other words, the idea is that the information provided by the neutral third party will enable the divorcing spouses to perform the necessary cost-benefit analysis.
How is the financial ENE process initiated?
In the typical scenario, the presiding judge may recommend that the spouses take part in the financial ENE process during the Initial Case Management Conference, a pretrial conference held shortly after the divorce filing at which all interested parties (spouses and their attorneys) must be present.
If it’s decided that the financial ENE process should be pursued, how long until it starts?
Absent extraordinary circumstances, the first meeting with the neutral evaluator will be held within seven days of the ICMC.
We will continue discussing the financial ENE process in future posts. In the meantime, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about all of your options as they relate to divorce.