Early Neutral Evaluation (Assessment)

Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) or Early Neutral Assessment (ENA) is a process being used by a few of Colorado’s Courts to help parties very early in the divorce process to reach a settlement without drawn-out litigation.  A neutral third party assesses the information on the case, with input from the parties and their attorneys (if represented) and presents to the parties their non-binding recommendation as to how their case might be best settled.  This recommendation can then be used by the parties to more quickly come to an agreement, often by using the ENE professional to help mediate an agreement.

Steve McBride has been trained, and is on the panel of the Douglas County Court, to conduct Early Neutral Assessments on the financial aspects of a case.  Parties can request that Steve conduct their ENE, either through the Court, or by private appointment.

ENE is different from normal mediation.  In normal mediation, the Mediator does not provide a recommendation or assessment, but helps the parties find their own solutions and guides them to think through the implications and consequences of their decisions.  In ENE, after receiving all the financial information, the Evaluator/Assessor will provide a recommendation to the parties.  The parties are free to accept or reject the recommendation, or accept part of it.  The recommendation can form the basis (or not, as the case may be) of negotiations between the parties.

It is important that the ENE process happen very early in the divorce process before positions are solidified by the parties.  The parties need to have at minimum their Sworn Financial Statements completed and their Rule 16.2 documents available for review by the Evaluator.


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