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Early Case Management/Early Neutral Evaluation


EARLY CASE MANAGEMENT (ECM) is a five-prong model used in family court that requires intensive judicial involvement very early in the case to tailor a case management plan and, in many cases, facilitate an expedited settlement.  The five components include:

1) Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC) -- a meeting where the parties and attorneys appear before the judge within three weeks of case filing.

2) Preliminary Data Sheets -- a document submitted by the parties that identifies issues and assists the judge in preparing for the ICMC.

3) Judicial Presentation -- at the ICMC, the judge helps the parties identify their major issues and speaks candidly about the choices available for resolution on each issue.

4) Stipulated, Tailored Case Management Plans -- also as a part of the ICMC, the judge engages the parties and counsel to develop a stipulated case management plan tailored to the specific issues of the case.

5) Ensuring Continued Case Management -- at the conclusion of the ICMC, the next court contact is scheduled, which is usually within 45 to 60 days after the ICMC; the judge is available to triage case plan implementation disputes that may arise during the first 30 to 120 days following the ICMC.


EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION (ENE) is a voluntary, confidential, high quality, affordable, prompt, evaluative alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process focused on generating durable settlements. In social ENE (SENE), custody and parenting time issues are addressed.  In financial ENE (FENE), financial and marital estate issues are addressed.

This site includes general information about the Minnesota ECM/ENE Statewide Initiative, as well as resources for ENE programs and evaluators.


For general questions about ECM/ENE, contact:
Judy Nord, Staff Attorney, State Court Administration
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