Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Overview

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes are alternative methods of helping people resolve legal problems before going to court. ADR involves an independent third person, called a “neutral,” who tries to help resolve or narrow the areas of conflict.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a “neutral?”

When an ADR process is chosen, the parties select an independent third party, called a neutral, from the ADR Neutrals Roster [link:  http://adr.courts.state.mn.us/adr/Adr_query.asp]. The Education & Organization Development Division maintains two ADR Neutrals Rosters, civil (non-family) and family. The neutrals on these rosters are professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds. To be qualified under Minnesota Rule 114, neutrals are required to complete training that is certified by the Supreme Court prior to serving in civil or family law matters. All neutrals on the family law roster have had six additional hours of training on domestic abuse issues. Angela is a Minnesota Rule 114 Qualified Neutral in the areas of mediation, parenting time expediting, social early neutral evaluation and financial early evaluation.

What is Mediation?

A confidential forum in which the neutral facilitates communication between parties to promote settlement. A mediator may not impose his or her own judgment on the issues for that of the parties. The goal of mediation shall be to arrive at solutions to each problem which is equitable to both Parties, and that the parties believe is in the best interests of the Parties’ child or children.

What is Social Early Evaluation (SENE)?

A confidential evaluative process designed to facilitate prompt dispute resolution in family court matters involving custody and parenting time with minor children. Evaluators presiding over an SENE are specifically tasked to give their recommendations as a way to help the parties reach a settlement.

What is the SENE Process?

Generally, a two person evaluative team meets with the parents and their attorneys. During the session, each party (and his or her attorney) is given the opportunity to explain what they would like for a custody and parenting time arrangement, and why. Questions from the evaluators are asked and answered. After both parties have presented their case, the evaluative team confer. The session reconvenes and recommendations are given and explained, whereupon the parties discuss settlement with their attorneys.

What is Financial Early Evaluation (FENE)?

A confidential evaluative process similar to mediation except that the FENE evaluator provides his or her informed view of what a reasonable resolution of the division of assets and liabilities, cash flow, spousal maintenance and child support, issues in the divorce would be if taken to court.

What is the FENE Process?

Parties and their attorneys meet with the evaluator (Angela) and each party presents their information regarding assets, debts, income and monthly expenses. After providing Angela with information regarding your assets, liabilities, income, and expenses, Angela will then explain to you, based on her family court experience, what she thinks a likely outcome is for your case and see if she can help you and your spouse reach an agreement on the financial issues in your case.

Full disclosure of your financial circumstances is critical to effectively mediating and resolving the issues. As an evaluator, Angela will listen, ask questions, and gather all the information she needs to fully understand the case. After Angela provides her recommendations, both parties have an opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on the evaluator’s recommendations. From there, the parties and their attorneys can work with the Angela to try to reach agreement on some or all issues.

What is the advantage of Alternative Dispute Resolution?

ADR often saves money and speeds settlement. In ADR processes such as mediation, parties play an important role in resolving their own disputes. This often results in creative solutions, longer-lasting outcomes, greater satisfaction, and improved relationships.

Call Lallemont Law, LLC today and schedule your mediation or early neutral evaluation!