Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

A traditional court proceeding in which parties appear in court to argue a case before a judge can be costly – in dollars, time, and emotion. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers a way to settle disputes without litigation, and is increasingly used for divorce and similar disputes. Unless domestic violence is a factor, all parties must attempt some form of ADR before proceeding to trial.

Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) include:

  • Mediation.
  • Early neutral evaluations.
  • Parenting consultations.
  • Expediting of parenting time.

During an ADR proceeding, a neutral person works with the parties to reach resolution of some or all issues presented.

EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATIONS

Early Neutral Evaluations (ENE) are confidential, voluntary, evaluative processes for prompt resolution of custody, parenting time or visitation, and financial disputes. There are two options of ENE: social and financial.

For a social early neutral evaluations (SENE), a team of two evaluators (usually one male and one female) conduct the evaluative session to address custody and parenting time issues. For a financial early neutral evaluations (FENE), one evaluator conducts the evaluation focusing on financial issues such as asset and debt division, child support, and spousal maintenance.

In both cases, an evaluator gathers information from both parties and recommends possible settlement terms. Because these evaluations are confidential, the information shared or discussed cannot be used in court.

MEDIATION

Mediation, another confidential form of ADR, is similar to the ENE process. However, mediation is generally not evaluative. The mediator will not share opinions or recommendations, but rather will facilitate the conversation between parties to help them negotiate a settlement.

PARENTING TIME EXPEDITOR (PTE) AND PARENTING CONSULTANT (PC)

Parties may be ordered to use a Parenting Time Expeditor (PTE) or they many voluntarily agree to use a Parenting Consultant (PC). With either of these processes, the PC or PTE will hear the dispute and will often try to help the parties reach an agreement. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the PC or PTE will make a binding decision, unless one of the parties appeals the decision to the district court judge (not the same as an appeal to the Court of Appeals).

Contact the family law attorneys of Bolt Hoffer Boyd. We have experience with all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.


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