Child and Family Investigation Questions and Answers
When parents can not reach agreement on parenting plans or decision-making responsibility, a Child and Family Investigator (CFI) can be appointed to investigate and make a neutral recommendation to the court. CFIs act in the best interests of the children, though consider the wishes of all involved.What Is the Legal Standard That the CFI Follows?
The legal standard can range from the best interests of the children to endangerment of the children depending on the situation.How Will the CFI Conduct the Investigation?
The CFI will talk to you and the other parent as well as significant others whom you suggest as well as conducting a home visit to observe you and the children interact and to observe your home and the children’s accommodations.Are My Communications With the CFI Confidential?
No. Anything that you say to the CFI may be included in the report.How Should I Prepare for my Meeting With the CFI?
Prepare a list of people you would like the CFI to contact and gather documents that you would like the CFI to review. Fill out any questionnaires that the CFI sends to you.What Kinds o People Might the CFI Want to Speak With?
- Church members
No. The court doe snot have to follow the CFI recommendations but often follows them, at least in part.If I Live Outside of the Colorado, Will the CFI Want to Travel to See Me With the Children?
Generally yes, though some CFIs will do a virtual home visit.If I Can Not Afford a CFI, Is There Financial Assistance?
Yes, if you are indigent and approved for state payment, the state can pay your portion of the CFI fees.How Long Will the Investigation Take?
Usually it will take around 90 days, however can take longer depending on the availability of the CFI.
Tips for the investigation:
- Show a cooperative approach to parenting with the other parent and with sharing time with them, unless there are safety issues.
- Raise serious issues, but don’t vent about the other parent or spend time slinging mud.
- Focus on the child.
- Control your emotions; how you present yourself is important.
- Even if it is hard, acknowledge something positive about the other parent.
- Show that you can work with the other parent to ensure contact for the children with both of you.
- Understand that everything that you say may be presented in the report.
- Fill out all documentation that the CFI provides.
- The wishes of the child's parents as to parenting time;
- The wishes of the child if he or she is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to the parenting time schedule;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, his or her siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
- The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability alone shall not be a basis to deny or restrict parenting time;
- The ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other party; except that, if the court determines that a party is acting to protect the child from witnessing domestic violence or from being a victim of child abuse or neglect or domestic violence, the party's protective actions shall not be considered with respect to this factor;
- Whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support;
- The physical proximity of the parties to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of parenting time;
- The ability of each party to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs.
How can a CFI and an attorney help? An CFI can conduct a neutral assessment and make recommendations to the court in the best interests of the children. A Colorado Springs divorce and family law attorney can guide you through the investigation process. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on spending your time trying to figure out the overly complex court system. Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.