The rise of Early Neutral Evaluation?
- AuthorEmily Arnold
The Court should be the last resort for separating parents or spouses in settling the arrangements for children following a relationship breakdown or resolving their financial settlement.
In 2010, the Family Justice Review highlighted the importance of reaching an agreement within divorce and financial arrangements outside of the Court setting. Not only does this help to reduce costs for the parties but can be a far less daunting process for families following separation and family breakdown.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the term given to the raft of options available to families as alternatives to Court, and is an integral part of the civil justice system. Mediation and collaborative law will be the more commonly recognised forms of ADR for family arrangements. However, there are additional forms of ADR available that may suit particular circumstances and the issues in dispute.
What is Early Neutral Evaluation?
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) has become increasingly popular in recent years and can be used as a stand-alone process or as part of a series of dispute resolution methods.
ENE makes use of an independent evaluator who is appointed to hear both parties’ positions. A non-binding evaluation of the likely outcome, if the matter were to progress to Court, is shared with the parties by the neutral evaluator. It is undertaken in a confidential setting, away from the Court system.
Having an early indication of the way the Courts are likely to determine the matter can lead to agreements being reached far earlier and can save parties significant costs. As a result of the indication given, ENE may assist in encouraging parties to move to a more realistic negotiating position.
It is available for financial claims, property disputes and matters relating to children.
Early Neutral Evaluation will not be the most suitable form of alternative dispute resolution in every case. It is important to consider the routes to resolution available to and suitable to parties in their particular circumstances and the members of our experienced Family Law Department can guide you through these considerations.
If you require assistance in relation to relationship breakdown, or any the issues surrounding divorce or separation, please feel free to contact a member of our Family Law Department on 01242 574244 and we will be happy to meet you and discuss your situation.