Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)


Whenever possible, Minnesota Courts encourage all parties involved in family law matters to attempt settlement before litigating.  There are many settlement options available.  Roben Law, PLLC has experience with all settlement methods and can advise and tailor the settlement approach to your individual situation.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to the broad category of settlement methods used outside of court.  The most common forms of ADR used in family law are Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE), Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE), mediation, moderated settlement conferences, arbitration, and Parenting Consultants.

In Social Early Neutral Evaluations (SENE), parties and their attorneys meet with one or two trained, neutral evaluators to get the evaluators’ advice and opinions about custody and parenting time arrangements.  You can find more information about a SENE through the Minnesota Court’s Website. A Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE) is a similar process used to get an evaluator’s opinion about financial arrangements.

In mediation, the parties work with a neutral person to reach an agreement on all aspects of their divorce, custody and parenting disagreement, or other family dispute. The mediator remains neutral and does not advocate for either party. Each party consults with their own attorney before and during the mediation process. They also consult with their attorney before signing a final divorce settlement agreement.

Moderated settlement conferences vary by county, but generally they occur at a later stage in a case and the conference occurs at the courthouse so that agreements can be made binding immediately (called “reading into the record”).  Like mediation, moderated settlement conferences use a neutral person to assist in reaching agreements and parties consult with their attorneys before and during the process.

Arbitration utilizes the services of a neutral person to make decisions for the parties outside of court.  A variation of arbitration is a Parenting Consultant, which makes decisions for the parties regarding the best interests of the children.

Divorce litigation (“going to court”) may be the only way to resolve issues if a the parties cannot come to an agreement. Each retains their own attorney, whose role is to obtain the best possible outcome for his or her client. The final decision about the division of your property and other assets, as well as the custody and care of your children is made by a judge, based on information presented by your attorney to the court.

Questions to explore

  • Am I willing to be fair and candid in disclosing personal and financial information that will be needed to come to a resolution?
  • Do I trust my spouse to do the same?
  • Am I willing to negotiate and compromise or are there special circumstances that make compromise difficult or impossible?
  • Does the length of time it will take and cost make a difference to me?
  • Am I faced with dissolving a marriage that involves significant assets, business or professional interests?

Roben Law, PLLC offers you:

  • Personal attention – From an attorney with experience in family law matters, including separation, divorce, child custody and asset allocation, including cases involving individuals with significant net worth or business interests.
  • Practical solutions – Creative and workable ideas for resolutions that are fair and respectful of your wishes, privacy and in your best interest.
  • Strong representation – From an attorney trained and experienced in achieving a fair outcome, whether you settle out of court or litigate. Roben Law, PLLC has experience in Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE), Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE), mediation, moderated settlement conferences, arbitration, and working with or disputing Parenting Consultant decisions as well as all phases of litigation.