Understanding The Child and Family Investigator or Parental Responsibilities Evaluation
When parents can not agree on a parenting plan, sometimes courts appoint a neutral party to examine the matter and make a recommendation to the court. There are two types of evaluations; child and family investigations (CFI) and parental responsibilities evaluations (PRE). The PRE is a more in-depth inquiry.
Your attorney should explain the process to you and prepare you for the evaluation because it is important to have realistic expectations regarding evaluation costs, duration and procedures. The evaluator will conduct an inquiry, write a report and may testify at a court proceeding. It is common to be anxious about the process, but an understanding of the procedures will help alleviate anxiety. The process will start with an initial interview with the parents. Important things to know about the initial interview and evaluation start are:
- The evaluator may discuss the role that each parent has had with the child in the past and present.
- The evaluator may discuss issues that led up to the dispute.
- The evaluator may ask each parent to sign a release of information for counseling, medical, psychological, and educational records.
- You should provide the evaluator with important records that you would like him or her to consider yourself.
- Provide documents to your attorney first for review and organization so that they can be evaluated most effectively.
- You should also provide relevant e-mails, text messages and Talking Parents messages as well.
- The evaluator will ask parents to complete a questionnaire.
- Your attorney should provide the evaluator with relevant pleadings and motions in the case.
The evaluator will ask for names of other people to speak with. You should provide names of friends, relatives, teachers, counselors, caregivers, or members of religious congregations who may be of assistance in a parenting recommendation. There will be a home visit with each parent. The evaluator will observe how each parent interacts with the child. A PRE can administer psychological testing, whereas a CFI can not. It is important to comply with all requests of the evaluator and be cooperative with the evaluation. When the evaluation is complete, the evaluator will write a report covering the best interests of the child factors and make a recommendation to the court. The report will make recommendations on parenting time and decision-making for each parent. The court is not bound by the report and is free to issue an order that is consistent or not.
Mediation will often occur after the evaluation is complete as the parties will have the report as a basis for mediation. If a party disagrees with something in the report, his or her attorney can rebut that information with available evidence at a hearing.Janko Law - Is it Time For a Change?
Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. We can guide you through the experience by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings for you. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Law can help ensure that your best interests and the best interests of your family are protected. Contact us at 720-780-0115 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.