Social Early Neutral Evaluation

ENE is a type of alternative dispute resolution involving the use of neutrals to identify areas of agreement and to utilize an evaluative process by experienced neutral evaluators to assist the parties in resolving areas of dispute.  There are two types of early neutral evaluation.  Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE) is a process in which two neutrals (one female and one male) who are experienced in custody issues evaluate and address with the parties issues involving children including custody, parenting time, child support, and similar collateral issues.  The second type, Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE), is a process in which one neutral experienced in the financial aspects of family law cases evaluates and addresses with the parties the financial aspects of family cases including property valuation and division and spousal maintenance.  Both processes, while encouraged by the Court, are entirely voluntary.  Most cases will involve only one type of ENE.  The ENE process is designed to take place ideally within 30 days of the ICMC, and, with limited exceptions, the parties cannot engage in discovery or motion practice until the ENE process has been completed.




Several benefits have been identified from the ENE process in family law cases:


  • reduced costs and acrimony for the parties
  • earlier resolution and certainty for children
  • increased settlement rates
  • reduced time from filing to disposition
  • fewer appeals and post-decree proceedings
  • reduced need for extensive and expensive custody evaluations and trials