When a divorcing couple cannot agree on an important issue, the spouses may believe their only option is to go to court. New Hampshire’s family law courts, however, provide several alternatives that can help spouses solve their dispute without having to appear before a judge. One option that works for many couples is to enlist the help of a trained Neutral Evaluator.
Neutral Evaluators are attorneys who have received training from the New Hampshire courts that prepares them to examine a couple’s dispute objectively and help each side understand the argument and work through it. Unlike each spouse’s own attorney, who works only on behalf of his or her client, the Neutral Evaluator is not on the “side” of either party. Rather, a Neutral Evaluator volunteers his or her time to help the parties resolve as many of their disputes as possible without having to go to court.
Going through the Neutral Evaluator Program also differs from mediation, another non-courtroom option for divorcing couples. Both a mediator and a Neutral Evaluator attempt to help the parties resolve their problems without taking sides. However, a Neutral Evaluator is allowed to give an opinion on whether each party will succeed in court, while a mediator may not give such an opinion. Also, the spouses are allowed to disregard the opinion of the Neutral Evaluator, while agreements reached in mediation are often binding.