By: James S. Margulis, Esq.
In Colorado, whether you are going through a Dissolution of Marriage case or an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities case, a child and family investigation (CFI) is a very useful tool.
What is a Child & Family Investigator?
This is an investigation performed by a trained Mental Health Professional or attorney that evaluates decision-making issues and parenting time issues. Ultimately, the CFI will issue a written report and make recommendations to the Court.
It is my experience that the Courts follow these recommendations approximately 80% of the time. The cost of the CFI is capped by the state at $2,750.00 – typically the costs of the same are equally split by the parties, though this varies on a case-by-case basis.
What To Do If You Are Being Investigated by CFI
Going through these types of custody cases and the CFI process can obviously be emotionally challenging. Having a CFI might be intimidating at first, especially when a stranger is noting your parenting habits, interviewing you, your children and your friends and family, and ultimately disclosing information to the attorneys, the judge, and the opposing party. However, remember that this process is for your children. The CFI can help your children get through a difficult situation and provide recommendations in your children’s best interests.
Still, there are certainly actions one can take (or not take) that will make this difficult challenge a little bit easier.
After interviewing five CFI’s, here are their top 10 tips to help you through your CFI process:
- Be honest, open and friendly with your CFI. This will help the process go quicker.
- Be responsive to requests for information. This is in regards to payments, packets, and questionnaires that the CFI might request from you.
- Provide relevant information. This includes documents, pleading, and information the CFI would need to see your point of view.
- Be timely with the information you provide and with appointment times.
- Prepare some written materials in advance, such as reference points for the child’s doctors, teachers, and neighbors.
- Follow the appointment order and contact the CFI within the 10-day period.
- Stay calm. This is a temporary situation and the CFI understands that it is overwhelming, so a support system might be beneficial.
- A CFI can tell when a child is being coached. Be natural with the children and keep them out of the fray.
- Remember, the CFI is a neutral party. They are visiting to try and help parents and children function during a difficult time.
- Be cautious when describing situations, and avoid disparaging the other party.
Related reading: Learn more about keeping the peace with custody matters
These little tips can go a long way in seeing your family through this difficult challenge and establishing a parenting plan that is in the best interest of your children.
The Domestic Team at Cantafio & Song PLLC is prepared to not only provide you with excellent legal representation, but will also provide you with real compassion as you move through the CFI process.
Please contact the lawyers at Cantafio & Song PLLC for help with custody or family law matters.