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Wheat Ridge Parental Responsibilities Attorney | What is Early Neutral Assessment (ENA)?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2018 | Child Custody |


Chances are, when you are getting a Wheat Ridge or Jefferson County divorce or dealing with child custody, you will be required to attend an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) session. When is comes to divorce and related issues, the ADR is often in the form of mediation. However, there are other options as well. If the only issue that needs to be worked through is related to parenting and your children, then Early Neutral Assessment (ENA) may be the right choice for you.

Early Neutral Assessment in Jefferson County: How Do I Know If It’s the Right Choice?

Early Neutral Assessment works much like mediation – it involves an impartial third party facilitating a conversation about various issues in hopes that an agreement can be reached outside of a formal Jefferson County court hearing. But, ENA is solely focused on child custody, child support and co-parenting related issues. If you are going through a divorce and the only issues that you and your former spouse cannot agree on is related to your kids, then ENA may be a good option for you. If, however, your contested issues are related to more than just your children, Early Neutral Assessment will not work for you.

What is Entailed in an Arvada ENA Session and Who Attends?

If you choose to go the ENA route, each session will be attended by both parents, their attorneys, another independent attorney, and a mental health professional. It is also set up so if the independent lawyer is a female, the mental health professional will be male so as to avoid any allegations of gender bias. Generally, the Early Neutral Assessment follows these procedures:

  1. Both parties appear in the courtroom and are advised on the ENA procedures.
  2. The parties, their attorneys, and the Early Neutral Assessment professionals then meet in a private room.
  3. The filing party begins by discussing the child related issues of concern.
  4. The other party then has a chance to express themselves about the raised issues.
  5. Each party will get a chance to respond to the other – addressing any concerns/thoughts/ and opinions expressed by the other.
  6. The parties will then separate, discussing things with their attorneys, while the ENA professionals discuss the issues privately.
  7. The parties will reconvene, and the ENA professionals will provide their thoughts on the issues.
  8. The parties will discuss any potential settlements.
  9. Any agreements or settlements will be presented to the court on the record.

If you are dealing with contested issues related to your children, call the Pearman Law Firm at 720-259-9528 for your phone consultation.