While it is a relatively unheard of term to many Minnesota citizens, Financial Early Neutral Evaluation, or FENE for short, is something that can help turn a messy divorce into something a little more civil. Like its close cousin, Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE), does for child custody issues, FENE is used to solve cases of complicated financial matters in a divorce without long, tiresome, and expensive courtroom battles between the separating couple.
How the Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE) Process Works
As a form of mediation, FENE is typically pursued early in the divorce process to sort out more complex financial issues than those present in a more standard divorce. Often this is used for those with a large amount of financial assets and who cannot come to an easy decision on how they should be split between them.
In this process, both sides as well as their lawyers will meet with a single evaluator. This evaluator will not only be an expert in financial matters, but they will have a wide scope on Minnesota property law as well. During this three to four hour session, the evaluator will listen to what both sides want and suggest various methods of mediation and compromise. However, because going over financial records often means missing information comes to light or a need for appraisal arises, sometimes multiple sessions of FENE may be scheduled.
Benefits of FENE
In high value divorces or even just divorces that have issues coming to an agreement on spousal support, child support, or property disposition, FENE can be an effective form to resolve these problems. Even for those in a divorce that would rather take their chances in court, it is still highly beneficial to attend this mediation. If nothing else, the FENE mediation will give you a good idea of the issues that your ex-spouse will raise in court and your evaluator may give hints as to how the courts will rule through their suggestions.
As FENE is also a confidential mediation, it will very literally not hurt your case to at least attend the meeting. The recommendations of the evaluator or any settlement offers cannot be shared with the judge presiding over your divorce. However, if it does come to light during mediation that there may be other financial accounts that you did not know about, you can still request information on those accounts in court if the FENE fails.
What to Bring to a FENE Meeting
As a financial meeting, FENE can occasionally be quite complicated. However, FENE evaluators often have the aid of a number of advanced pieces of software to help them aid in the division of assets. That being said, in order to use this software, the evaluator needs to have a certain amount of information.
If you have set a FENE mediation meeting, be sure to bring with you:
- Valuations of property
- Pay stubs from both parties that verify income
- Tax returns for at least a two years back
- Any information that may pertain to earning potential or lack thereof
- Account statements for all accounts including retirement, stocks, savings, and/or checking accounts
- A monthly budget outlining what your needs and expenses will be after a marriage
Are you going through a divorce in the Minneapolis area? Even the simplest finances can become complicated in very little time. If you want to save money in a divorce, but still get an outcome that is beneficial to you, contact us today. Let Beckman Steen & Lungstrom represent you in both your divorce and the FENE process to make sure you get the asset division you deserve from your divorce.