Family law is constantly evolving. There are a lot of driving forces behind the changes that seem to come down the pike here in Minnesota. Cost is always a big factor in any legal proceeding and family law actions are no exception.
There are also the emotion-evoking elements associated with a divorce, property division, paternity, child support and child custody to consider. And it’s important to recognize that society’s views and attitudes around what family means seem to be shifting all the time, too. Add all the factors together and the reasons for change start to become clear.
One of the more significant trends in Minnesota family law is represented in the process called Early Neutral Evaluation or ENE. Regular readers of our blog may recall that we’ve written about this before.
ENE is an alternative dispute resolution process courts in both Hennepin and Ramsey County use to help facilitate agreements in family law disputes outside of the court setting. As we noted in our earlier blog, the two forms of ENE, financial and social, are voluntary steps. Both parties in the case have to agree to participate.
So what are the conditions under which someone might decide not to take advantage of an early neutral evaluation? Here are some thoughts from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.
- If you are afraid of the other party because of a history of abuse or for some other reason.
- If you don’t have an attorney and the other party does.
- If mistrust of the other party leaves you unable to be open and honest about your concerns.
- If you don’t believe the other party will be open and honest.
- If the other party has mental health or substance dependency issues.
Of course, before making any such decisions, it is best to get advice directly from an attorney whose experience you feel you can trust.
Source: LawHelpMN.org, “Family Court Process: Early Neutral Evaluation,” accessed June 18, 2015