New Colorado CFI Guidelines Emphasize Objectivity in Family Court Investigations
Denver, CO (Law Firm Newswire) December 5, 2011 - The Colorado Supreme Court set forth new guidelines this year for Child Family Investigators in the state’s family court system.
The role of the CFI is to make sure that the best interests of the child or children in the case is fully explored and explained to the court, according to Michael Bender, chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court in a directive in April.
The 16-page directive outlines the CFI’s role in the judicial system, the standard payment for the work they do and gives them standards to follow.
“I use a CFI whenever there is a fundamental disagreement about what is in the child's best interest,” said Denver child custody attorney Bill Thode. “CFIs provide a critical service to the family court system.”
A CFI appointment is designed to provide a quick assessment in a child custody case, according to the directive. The CFI is appointed by the court to be its investigative arm.
“These folks interview everybody – clients, kids, friends, therapists, etc., and make a written report to the court,” Thode said. “The CFI can be a psychologist, social worker or lawyer.”
CFIs are instructed to be professional, independent and objective. The court’s directive outlines situations by which a CFI should ask to be removed from a case when bias or emotion makes the investigator incapable of objectivity.
“Courts value a CFI’s opinion and usually adopt their recommendations as to the ‘best interests’ of the child concerning parenting time, decision-making authority and other issues,” said Thode.
The investigator’s fee is split by the parties who are disputing custody of the child. “CFI's are currently capped at $2000 and the parties share the cost, although not necessarily equally,” Thode said.
“It is important to hire an experienced attorney who knows which CFI is suitable for a given situation,” Thode said.
Thode Law Firm, P.C.
201 Steele Street, Suite 201
Denver, CO 80206
Call: (303) 330-0425
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