Financial Early Neutral Evaluations
- by Eric C. Nelson, Attorney

In Hennepin County and elsewhere in Minnesota, a common form of alternative dispute resolution is the Financial Early Neutral Evaluation, or FENE. This is very much like mediation, with the big advantage that the FENE evaluator — unlike most mediators — will provide his or her informed view of what a reasonable resolution of your financial issues in the divorce would be. This can be very helpful where one or both parties (or their attorneys) have unrealistic expectations, and could benefit from a neutral third party’s advice.

Approximately half of the evaluators who do FENEs are accountants. The other half are experienced family law lawyers. I almost always prefer to go with the experienced family law lawyer, who is much more able to explain the likely range of outcomes that a Court would impose. This is far more helpful in reaching settlement than mere number-crunching.