A Financial Early Neutral Evaluation is one avenue you can explore when attempting to settle disputes relating to spousal maintenance, child support, or the division of property. Oftentimes, the neutral will instruct all parties to bring specific financial documents to the FENE. However, it is your responsibility to bring these materials. Below is a list of five documents you should bring to an FENE:
- A monthly budget. This is extremely important for an FENE. Prepare a monthly budget including what you pay for yourself and your children for rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, medical expenses, car payments, car insurance, entertainment, meals out, school tuition, clothing, and the like. Each party should prepare the budget as accurately as possible.
- Three (or more) paystubs. Be sure to bring not just one paystub, but several recent paystubs demonstrating your earnings. You should also bring paystubs that itemize your deductions, contributions to retirement accounts, and contributions to medical/dental insurance for yourself and the kids. Each party should bring statements demonstrating any additional income.
- Three (or more) tax returns. Bring copies of tax records for the last three years. Do not rely on the other party to bring the taxes. If you do not have a copy of your taxes, contact the IRS and request a transcript of the taxes for free.
- Prior Orders for maintenance/child support. If you have been court-ordered to pay spousal maintenance or child support in the current matter or any other matter, bring a copy of the court order and any documentation of the payments that are being made.
- Documentation depicting values for marital and non-marital property. Bring documentation depicting values from all accounts, assets, and debts as of the valuation date (usually the Initial Case Management Conference date). If non-marital property is at issue, the parties should also bring documents reflecting account balances on these assets as of the date of the marriage as well as documents depicting non-marital tracing.