One of the most difficult parts of a divorce is trying to resolve all the issues that come with separating your lives. These issues may include child custody and property division.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch explains that a method the state uses to help couples with the tricky aspects of divorce is early neutral evaluation.
Early neutral evaluation is a mediation process that can help you and your spouse resolve issues in your divorce outside of the courtroom. It is mainly for situations where you have disagreements over an issue.
The state offers financial and social options. Financial early neutral evaluation can help you to resolve issues involving property division, debt handling and other things concerning finances. Social early neutral evaluation will handle issues involving child custody.
Early neutral evaluation is not mandatory. The court can suggest you use it, but it is completely up to you and your spouse.
It may be beneficial if you have issues in your divorce that you cannot seem to resolve through other methods and do not wish to have the court decide for you. It gives you some control over what happens that you will not get if you leave things up to court.
You may not want to use this option if you think that you will be unable to open up about your concerns or cooperate with the process. It also is not good for situations involving domestic violence or when both parties do not have attorneys.
When you begin early neutral evaluation, you and your spouse will choose the evaluator you want to use from a list of approved providers. The evaluator will set you a time from three to six hours for a meeting where you will discuss the issues at hand and try to reach resolutions.