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Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)


Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) strives to move families through court efficiently and inexpensively by working with them early on to reach agreements that will foster the best interests of their families.  ENE helps parties focus on the critical issues they face in a confidential, non-confrontational, and settlement-oriented alternative dispute resolution program.

In ENE, parties and their attorneys attend an ENE session with experienced evaluators. Each side presents its view. The evaluators discuss the case alone and then share their perspective on the merits of each position.   Evaluators identify the key issues and predict how the case is most likely to conclude. The parties are always able to confer with their attorneys and discuss settlement. Sometimes additional meetings are scheduled.  

Issues related to custody or parenting time take part in Social ENE.  In those cases a two person male/female team of evaluators will work on the case.  If the issues relate to financial issues, then a Financial ENE, with a single evaluator, is used.  In either type of ENE, evaluators are highly experienced professionals who have also been formally trained to help resolve cases in the ENE program.

Over half of the cases settle during the first session and over three-fourths reach at least some agreement. Absent full resolution, the team advises the assigned judge about areas of agreement, additional needed services and how to focus future assistance on the most relevant issues.

The parties pay for the costs of ENE according to a Financial or Social Sliding Fee Schedule.  Most who participate in ENE will save a considerable amount of time and money versus fighting out their disagreements in a traditional court setting.  ENE is normally fully concluded within 90 days.  A full determination in court can easily take more than a full year's time.

Effective immediately, the SENE and FENE rosters will be open to anyone who has either (a) completed formal training for SENE/FENE or (b) is currently on the SENE/FENE roster for Anoka, Hennepin or Ramsey County.  Those persons interested in being included on either or both of the Washington County ENE rosters should submit a letter or email to Court Administration attention Deb Lepper stating that they are qualified under (a) or (b) above.  Please note that you will be responsible for determining your SENE partners and conveying that information to the Court Administrator for inclusion on our SENE partnering list.


ENE Forms

Listed below are forms that are designed to assist you in becoming more familiar with ENE in Washington County.   The Initial Case Conference Data Sheet is a form that must be completed and submitted at least five (5) business days before your scheduled Initial Case Conference.  The other forms contain more detailed information about ENE and its costs.  Copies of the listed forms can also be obtained at the Washington County Law Library.



Standing Order Re Early Neutral Evaluation Cases in Washington County, Minnesota

Order for Early Neutral Evaluation

Initial Case Management Conference Data Sheet

SENE Informational Sheet

FENE Informational Sheet

Financial Fee Schedule

Social Fee Schedule

SENE Partnering List

Roster of Approved SENE Neutrals

Roster of Approved FENE Neutrals

Washington County Law Library

Moderated Settlement Conference Program Description

Moderated Settlement Conference Order

Moderated Settlement Conference - Fee Policy

Moderated Settlement Conference - Washington County Moderator List