What is Early Neutral Evaluation?
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which an independent Evaluator (a trained legal professional such as a barrister or retired judge) is instructed by the parties to a divorce to provide an evaluation of the merits of their case and the likely outcome of a financial division should matters proceed to court.
This approach allows parties to negotiate on the basis of the Evaluator’s indication in the hope of reaching an early agreement without the need to progress matters through the court. This often takes place on paper with both parties providing written submissions about their case and the Evaluator providing a written opinion in response. Another form of ENE is a Private Financial Dispute Resolution (‘FDR’) which takes place in person (or remotely). This involves instructing a private Judge who will offer parties their indication of the likely outcome of a case, followed by both parties negotiating through barristers.
ENE and Private FDRs are an effective means of Dispute Resolution, which often result in settlement of financial disputes without the need to attend a contested final hearing.
How Can We Help?
If you are having difficulty agreeing the division of your finances with your partner, we can advise generally on the likely outcome of the case and assist in preparing and gathering necessary financial disclosure to ensure you and your former partner can negotiate with confidence. If you wish to consider progressing a form of ENE or Private FDR, we can advise you about and support you through the process, including by recommending a suitable neutral evaluator or private Judge, as well as the costs for doing so. We also provide mediation services, which often follow parties receiving an ENE outcome to assist them in negotiating further.
Our Family Law team can advise on all matters of financial disputes and methods for alternative dispute resolution so please get in touch if you would like to find out more.