Mediation (ADR, Early Neutral Evaluations)

If you are getting a divorce, you will be required to participate in some form of mediation, sometimes called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Mediation is a very effective ADR method that has helped many people avoid the unnecessary time and cost of trial. Most often, before either party is allowed to bring a motion of any kind, or begin litigating the case, the court will expect (strongly encourage) the parties to participate in what’s called an ENE (or, Early Neutral Evaluation).

Parties can choose to participate in mediation before either side files anything with the Court, but once one of them does file, the Early Case Management System takes over, and the Court will very quickly schedule an Initial Case Management Conference (or, ICMC). At the ICMC, absent an already existing restraining order or domestic abuse, the judge will have a brief discussion with the parties and their attorneys — which is usually pretty informal and low-key – and will discuss the merits of attending either a Social ENE for custody and parenting time issues, and/or a Financial ENE for complex property issues and/or spousal maintenance claims.

Far too many people are eager to have their “day in court.” While there are some cases that eventually do come before a judge for decisions either by way of a formal Motion, or by trial, most cases are resolved by attending mediation. If a case can be settled through mediation, both parties will realize a great deal of financial savings, and the toll on their emotions will be much less. There will be far less stress overall, both for the parties and their children.

Contact Eastlund Hutchinson at (952) 894-6400.