Hafemeyer Law

Acronyms to Know when Filing a Divorce

Once a petition for dissolution of marriage (divorce) is served and filed with the courts, the next step will depend on the county. For many individuals, the first appearance in court at an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC). The ICMC will usually be held 3-4 weeks after the filing of the Petition. Parties will receive the notice of the ICMC and a request for data that needs to be completed. Best practice is to have this completed 5 days before the ICMC is scheduled.

The ICMC is an informal meeting that allows the parties, their representatives and the judge to discuss the matters surrounding the dissolution and make resolutions in as many of these matters as possible. Following the ICMC if there are remaining areas of disagreement the judge may offer the parties an opportunity to participate in Early Neutral Evaluation or ENE to attempt to resolve any remaining matters.

If your divorce takes place in Rice County or Steele County, the first hearing will be a scheduling conference. At that hearing, deadlines will be set for various phases of the dissolution process.

An ENE is another informal process that seeks to assist parties in resolving custody issues, parenting plans, or money concerns outside of the formal judicial process. Not every judge will suggest an ENE. It is a voluntary process that parties will have to determine if they will utilize or not based on the case.

When determining whether or not to engage in the ENE process it is a good idea to discuss the pros and cons with legal counsel. Individuals who are afraid of their spouse, or have been victims of abuse would likely not be good candidates for ENE. Also, if the other party is represented by counsel and you are not it may not be a good idea to engage in the ENE process without obtaining counsel to offer advice on the rights that are available under the law. If one party does not feel that they can be honest with the other party in the room participation in an ENE may by unsuccessful.

Ultimately, the courts goal is to assist families in the expeditious and productive dissolution process and may use different tools to achieve these goals based on the pertinent facts of the case. Legal counsel is a great resource in navigating the legal process and preparing the parties for what to expect and advocating for their clients. Individuals contemplating a dissolution may benefit from seeking legal counsel prior to filing a petition.

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