Attorney Amanda Bloomgren provides the following neutral services at Bloomgren Hanson Legal. Amanda’s cirriculum vitae can be found here.
Please contact Amanda for services and availability prior to naming her in a Court appointment order.
Mediation is a confidential process in which parties work to reach agreements. All family law issues including financial and social issues related to divorce and parenting can be mediated including, division of assets and debts, child support, spousal maintenance, custody, parenting time, and other parenting-related issues.
A mediator is a neutral who helps facilitate the conversation between parties, but who does not have any decision-making authority, does not provide legal advice, and does not advocate for either party.
Mediation typically consists of a series of meetings, which may vary in length. Mediation can be done with parties and attorneys or just with parties.
Mediation is a confidential process, governed by Rule 114.
If agreement are reached in mediation they can be made into binding agreements.
Socia Early Neutral Evaluation
Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE) is designed to help families resolve disputes about custody and parenting time before significant litigation occurs. They are typically ordered by the Court at the request of the parties after an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC).
In an SENE, both parents (and their attorneys) meet with a team which consists of one male and one female provider who have at least five years of experience related to family law issues.
Each parent informally presents the information they want the SENE team to consider. The SENE team also asks both parents additional questions. The SENE team then usually provides immediate feedback about the case and recommendations for parents to consider. The SENE team may also facilitate a discussion about settlement options.
SENE is a confidential process, governed by Rule 114. If parents reach a full or partial settlement, the agreement is provided to the Court. If there is no agreement, the SENE team may only report that there is no agreement and then the Court works with the parties to determine next steps.
Financial Early Neutral Evaluation
Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE) is designed to help parties resolve disputes about financial issues before significant litigation occurs. They are typically ordered by the Court at the request of one of the parties after an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC).
In an FENE, both parties (and their attorneys) meet with an evaluator who is well-versed in both finances as well as Minnesota property laws.
Based on the financial information provided by the parties at or in advance of the FENE, the evaluator provides recommendation based on what he or she believes the Court would order if the matter went to trial. This information is then used to assist in settlement.
Parties who benefit from FENEs are those who have spousal maintenance issues, complex child support issues, or property disposition issues.
FENE is a confidential process, governed by Rule 114. If parties reach a full or partial settlement in this process, that agreement is provided to the Court. If there is no agreement, the SENE team may only report that there is no agreement to the Court and then the Court works with the parties to determine next steps.
Parenting Time (Custody) Evaluation
Parenting Time Evaluations (also sometimes referred to as custody evaluations) are performed by a neutral evaluator who has been appointed by the Court to conduct an independent investigation, and to make recommendations based on the “Best Interests Factors” set forth in Minn. Stat. 518.17. They typically take place in cases after other alternative dispute efforts have failed or are not appropriate.
Custody evaluations typically include:
- interviews with each parent
- home visits to observe the children and each parent together
- interviews of references who have direct knowledge of the family’s situation
- review of relevant documents such as family court file, school records, criminal history records
If the evaluator finds it appropriate, parents and/or children may be asked to complete additional evaluations or assessments.
Parenting Time evaluations are intensive and typically take 90-120 days. The cost for evaluations varies, depending on the complexity of the issues involved, and whether a report or testimony at trial or deposition is necessary.
A Parenting Consultant (PC) is a neutral who helps parents resolve parenting related disputes. The scope of authority for the PC is determined by an order Appointing Parenting Consultant. A PC typically has the authority to enforce, interpret, and clarify court orders relating to parenting time, and to address circumstances not specifically addressed by an existing parenting time order. PC’s can also be appointed to address other issues such as monitoring a parent’s compliance with chemical dependency or mental health services; referring a parent or child for additional assessments or evaluations; making a decision about which school a child will attend if parents are unable to agree. The PC may also work with parents on improving communication and co-parenting skills.
The PC process first involves the PC working with both parents to try to resolve the dispute by agreement. If parents are unable to agree, the PC also has the authority to make binding decisions on issues that fall within their scope of authority.
the PC process is a form of alternative dispute resolution under Rule 114. Parenting Consulting is not a confidential process. Under certain circumstances, a Parenting Consultant may be required to provide information to the Court.
A receiver is appointed by the Court and acts as an indifferent person between the
parties to manage assets. Most often in the context of a divorce, receivers are appointed to manage the sale of real estate or collection and disposition of assets when the matter is complicated and the parties have been unable to complete doing so through cooperation, following Court orders, or the matter is particularly complicated.
Receivers are often useful tools when there is an uncooperative party. Receivers can be appointed with a motion for appointment of receiver and they must be an indifferent party qualified to take control over receivership property. Receivers will follow through with the judgment of the court and see to equitable relief for the parties. A
limited receiver can be called in emergency situation where property is at risk; however, the courts want receivers to be a last resort when there are other equitable remedies.
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