Child and Family Investigator in Colorado

Oftentimes, parents cannot agree as to what parenting time schedule is in the best interests of their children.  When this occurs, it is usually beneficial to obtain a parenting professional to investigate the issues of the case, and make recommendations to the parents and the Court as to what type of schedule would be in the children’s best interests.

Different types of professionals include a guardian ad litem, a child and family investigator, and a parental responsibilities evaluator.  This article will focus solely on the child and family investigator, otherwise known as “CFI.”

If you go to court without a parenting professional, you often only have a very limited amount of time to discuss the issues before a judge or magistrate enters orders regarding parenting time.  A CFI has an opportunity to more deeply investigate the family dynamics and analyze other issues a family faces while in the face of a divorce or other type of case involving parenting time.

A child and family investigator can be an attorney, a therapist, a licensed family social worker, or other qualified professional.  The court has “capped” the payment of a CFI to $2000 for the investigation and $500 for testifying at a hearing.  Sometimes a CFI will request for payment above and beyond the initial cost based on the amount of work it takes for the investigation and report.  Generally, the cost of a CFI is much lower than a parental responsibilities evaluator.  The cost of a CFI is either paid by one parent (subject to reallocation at a hearing), divided equally, or divided in proportion to income.

At minimum, a CFI is supposed to review motions, court orders and other submitted paperwork related to the parents’ case.  The CFI also is to have an initial interview with both parents individually, each one lasting approximately an hour.  Following this, the CFI is to observe both parents, individually with the children during an office visit, and also interview the children alone.  Finally, the CFI is to consider other professional references, including teachers, physicians, therapists, etc.  The CFI may also consider personal references.

A CFI review the interviews, references, and court file in light of the factors listed in §14-10-124, C.R.S. and makes recommendations as to the best interests of the children.  The CFI may also take a more narrow approach and look at only one issue in a case.  For example, the CFI may examine substance abuse of the parent(s), or look at what school is better for the children, or look at whether the parent(s) are able to encourage the love and affection of the other parent.

At the conclusion of the process, the CFI is to submit a report to the Court with its findings and recommendations.

The Court is not required to adopt the recommendations, but they often do.  The Court views CFIs as neutral parties that have had more access to a family, and view them as credible sources of information and opinion.

An attorney can often recommend a CFI that he or she believes would be a good fit for your case.  If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss questions about a CFI, do not hesitate to call 720-773-2900.