In early neutral evaluation (ENE), a separating couple agree to mutually consult a neutral and independent evaluator who provides an early neutral evaluation, similar to the way a judge would make a decision in court.
In early neutral evaluation, the evaluator does not act as lawyer for either party. Instead, the evaluator remains independent and neutral and offers their evaluation to both participants based on their experience and their knowledge of the law.
This approach is an excellent way to resolve issues quickly and fairly. It also reduces the potential for very high costs and unwanted conflict which is common in court proceedings.
Unlike in mediation, which empowers both participants to decide their own outcome, the evaluator in an early neutral evaluation provides both participants with a likely outcome as if the case was determined by the court.
Unlike in arbitration, however, where both participants agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision, the evaluator provides an early neutral evaluation indicating the likely result if you go to court. Neither particpant is bound by the evaluator’s decision.
In early neutral evaluation, both participants can seek independent legal advice but benefit from the advice and evaluation of the evaluator, who is an experienced family law specialist.
If you do not reach an agreement using this approach, participants can work towards mediation or arbitration before they consider court litigation.
Jones Mitchell family lawyers are experienced in working with clients through the early neutral evaluation process.
For more information about early neutral evaluation, visit our early neutral evaluation FAQs, read our published articles or contact us to speak with one of our experienced Jones Mitchell family lawyers.