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Anoka County ENE Program

ANOKA COUNTY FAMILY COURT EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION

 PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

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 program 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 one month. A party may choose to end the ENE session at any time.

1.  For Custody and Parenting Time ENE (CPENE), there are two neutral evaluators assigned to the case, one male evaluator and one female evaluator.  This is a minimum of a four (4) hour session.

2.  For Financial ENE (FENE), there is one neutral evaluator assigned to the case.  This is a minimum of a three (3) hour session.

3.  There is a cost for participating in Early Neutral Evaluation. Each person pays a fee and the amount of the fee is determined by his or her income or attorney’s hourly rate.  Anoka ENE Sliding Fee Scale

4.  Attorneys and parties typically meet with the ENE neutral(s) within 7 -10 days after a court referral to ENE. Each attorney or pro se party is asked to identify the important issues in the case with the party giving more explanation and reason to support his or her perspective and opinion on each issue. Unless it is necessary to gather additional information, the ENE team provides immediate feedback about each party’s case. Settlement possibilities are discussed and areas needing further scrutiny are identified.

5.  The ENE neutral(s) may gather additional information as necessary and may interview parties, interview child(ren), or gather limited collateral data.

6.  The attorneys and parties may need additional sessions to complete the ENE process. Settlement options for full and partial agreements are discussed. If the case does not settle, the neutral(s) identifies critical issues that may need additional study.

7.  If a full or partial settlement is reached, a copy of the agreement is sent to the judge. If a full agreement is not reached, a report is made to the judge by the ENE neutral(s) regarding partial agreements that have been reached. The report will be written. The ENE neutral(s) may not be called as a witness with respect to the information obtained or the recommendations made during the ENE process.

8.  In addition to reporting full and partial settlements, the ENE neutral(s) may communicate with the judge for the limited purpose of facilitating case management. For example, if one fact issue stands in the way of settlement, such as a chemical health issue, the ENE neutral(s) may report the disputed issue to the judge for case management purposes. Armed with such information, the judge may opt for a chemical health assessment rather than a full-fledged custody evaluation.

9.  If the case does not settle, a scheduling order is issued.

 LINKS FOR PARTIES/ATTORNEYS

Program Policies and Guidelines

Initial Case Management Conference Data Sheet

Early Neutral Evaluation Intake form

Anoka ENE Sliding Fee Scale

Anoka County Law Library

Roster of CPENE Neutrals

Roster of FENE Neutrals

LINKS FOR NEUTRAL EVALUATORS 

Early Neutral Evaluation Confidentiality Agreement

Consent For Release and Exchange of Confidential Information

Custody Parenting Time ENE—Evaluator Case Form

Financial ENE—Evaluator Case Form

Statement of Assets and Liabilities

Letter Request for Referral to Court Services

Memorandum of Custody and Understanding and Agreement

Memorandum of Financial Issues Understanding and Agreement

Notice of No Agreement

Request For Order Extending Timelines For Early Neutral Evaluation and Order

Scheduling Letter (CPENE)

Scheduling Letter (FENE)