What is an ENE and do we need this?

The acronym ENE stands for Early Neutral Evaluation. The Minnesota Judicial Branch has wisely established systems for Early Case Management (ECM). The ECM program was designed to bring about a faster resolution to divorce and custody cases, which also helps reduce court costs. The early involvement of a judicial officer helps bring about an earlier resolution, which also help reduce time and money in resolving issues around a divorce and child custody.

According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch website, “Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is a confidential, voluntary, evaluative process designed to facilitate prompt dispute resolution in custody, parenting time (visitation), and financial matters.”

The ENE program is confidential and voluntary. ENE offers the evaluative impressions of experienced professionals to parties engaged in custody, parenting time, and financial disputes. Feedback is provided to parties and their attorneys based on case presentations and a limited amount of information gathering. The ENE process is typically completed within a month. Because it is voluntary a party may choose to end the ENE session at any time.

The aim of ENE is to move families through the court system more efficiently by helping them to reach agreements more quickly. ENE helps parties focus on the critical issues they face in a confidential, non-confrontational, and settlement-oriented alternative dispute resolution program.

Though the parties pay for the costs of ENE, these costs are determined by a Sliding Fee Schedule. Most who participate save a considerable amount of time and money versus contentious litigation in a traditional court setting. ENE can, on average, be fully concluded within 90 days. A court case determination can typically take as long as a year.

Do you need this? Most people have found ENE to be a useful, time-saving and money-saving process.

For more information on ENE and Early Case Management, visit http://www.mncourts.gov/Help-Topics/ENE-ECM.aspx

Contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle at (218) 722-2655 to schedule a consultation to discuss divorce, child custody, parenting time and grandparent’s rights.

Jessica Sterle