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Settle Out of Court

Going to court is not always the best way to solve a legal dispute because it can be costly, time-consuming and very stressful. Other ways to solve legal problems are called "alternative dispute resolution" (ADR). Common types of ADR include mediation, arbitration, and neutral evaluation.

Why settle out of court

  • An independent, neutral third person (a "neutral") listens to the facts from all sides and tries to focus on the core issues.
  • A settlement can often be reached more quickly than in a court process.
  • Parties can save money by trying to settle their issues rather than going to court, which may involve attorneys fees and other costs.
  • Parties are often more satisfied with the outcome, especially if the dispute involves family members.
  • A law or court order might require the parties to use ADR.
  • NOTE: If you feel threatened by or unsafe with the other party, you may want to get legal advice or help from an advocate before using ADR.

Learn about ADR

  • Family Court - Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)  
    Most courts in Minnesota now offer parents the opportunity to work with independent evaluators soon after the case is filed to see if they can reach an agreement about custody, parenting time, money and property. The two types of ENE are:
    • Financial ENE (FENE) to settle financial disputes; and
    • Social ENE (SENE) to settle custody and parenting time issues involving their children.

» Read the ENE Fact Sheet to learn more how ENE works.
» Contact your District Court ENE Program for options in your case.

Find service providers

You can find service providers by getting referrals from community agencies, friends, employers, religious advisers, and other people you trust. The resources listed below may be one option for you.



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