Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE or FENE)
An Early Neutral Evaluator is a person who provides an evaluative opinion regarding the likely outcome of custody, parenting-related or financial issues. The Early Neutral Evaluator then assists the parties in resolving their dispute. Early Neutral Evaluation is a voluntary process and can be ordered by the court only if both parties agree to participate.
A court ordered Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE), is often done by a male/female team, whereas a Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE) may be done by a single individual. The process is confidential except that an Evaluator may provide a summary of agreements or remaining issues to the court.
The process may be suggested by the court and the evaluators are chosen from a court provided list of qualified providers. Alternatively, the parties may contract for a private Early Neutral Evaluation, which may or may not be provided by someone on a court provided list of evaluators. If the evaluator is court appointed, the fees are determined by the court using a sliding fee scale.