“In my opinion, the proposal in the J&D for a 4-hour ROFR, after we attended the SENE and agreed that there would be no first right of access or compensatory time and signed a binding mediated agreement is completely disingenuous on the part of Petitioner.” – WHAT?!?!?!?!?
If Latin, legalese, and lots of family law abbreviations are not your preferred languages, communicating with your lawyer can make a confusing stressful time even more so. Just the process of talking to someone about something as personal as a divorce or change in family circumstances is hard enough, then you hear things for the first time that you don’t understand. Family transitions are big deals and it is important that clients and lawyers are on the same page when they are being negotiated or litigated. I have prepared a list of terms that I hope makes dealing with family law matters a little less intimidating for you.
There are many stages of a divorce and words and acronyms that show up at different times. I want to make sure I guide my clients through complex legal matters but not so they are confused and don’t understand what I am doing.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a term used to include many processes that can be used to attempt to settle disputes prior to or in place of litigation. ADR is required in divorce matters in MN. ADR includes mediation, moderated settlement conferences, early neutral evaluations (ENE), arbitration, and consensual special magistrates.
- Early Neutral Evaluations. Early neutral evaluations (ENE) are a form of ARD used early in a case. The ENE is a voluntary process with the goal of helping parties reach an agreement to avoid spending additional resources by litigation. After listening to both sides present their position on an issue, neutral evaluator(s) will provide evaluative feedback to the parties regarding the issue and the likely outcome if the issue proceeded to trial. After the opinion has been presented, the parties can elect to have the neutral evaluator switch to the role of mediator and assist in settlement discussions. Social early neutral evaluations (SENE) address issues of custody and parenting time. Financial early neutral evaluations (FENE) address all financial issues, like property division, spousal maintenance, and child support.
- Spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance, sometimes known as alimony, means an award made in a dissolution or legal separation proceeding of payments from the future income or earnings of one spouse for the support and maintenance of the other.
- Initial Case Management Conference. An ICMC is a process in which judges are involved in cases shortly after the case is filed. The purpose of this conference is to allow the parties to explain the court process to the parties, determine if there is a resolution on any of the issues and schedule future dates in their case. No motions are heard, however other actions such as referral to ADR, custody studies, other evaluations/appraisals may be ordered. Agreements of the parties may also be ordered by the Judge.
- Joint Children. The dependent child who is the child of both parents in the support proceeding. In cases where support is sought from only one parent of a child, a joint child is the child for whom support is sought.
- Nonjoint Child. The legal child of one, but not both of the parents in the support proceeding. Nonjoint child does not include stepchildren.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a start. If you have more questions about divorce contact us to schedule an appointment. Check back soon for more information about family law terms.