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What is Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE) as used at Family Court?

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Padraic D. Walsh, Attorney at Law

A social early neutral evaluation (SENE) is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) used in family court to help parties resolve disputes related to child custody and parenting time. It is often used as a way to avoid a trial or a long legal process.

During a SENE, a neutral evaluator, who is usually a mental health professional, meets with the parties separately and together to gather information about the family’s situation. The evaluator will typically assess the family’s strengths and needs, and make recommendations for a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child.

The evaluator’s recommendations are not binding, but they can be used as the basis for a settlement agreement or as evidence in court. The goal of a SENE is to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable resolution in a timely and less adversarial manner.

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