What to Know About Child and Family Investigators and Parenting Evaluators

Willoughby & Associates aims to use our extensive experience in divorce litigation to make your family’s transition as painless as possible. Almost every case that we handle goes to divorce mediation as part of the divorce process so that each party has the opportunity to reach a fair compromise. When parents undergoing a divorce cannot agree on parenting issues, a child and family investigator (CFI) or parental responsibility evaluator (PRE) is often appointed to investigate, file a report and issue recommendations concerning parenting time and decision-making authority. Here are some things to know about the CFI/PRE to help you prepare:


“CFIs/PREs carry a significant amount of weight in any family law matter. In

preparing their reports, they address a client’s psychological profile, family history, dynamic within the marriage, parenting ability, and general personal shortcomings. The written report of a CFI/PRE is extremely personal to the client, and deals with those things most near and dear to him or her. The CFI’s/PRE’s report can literally have an impact on a family that lasts years. The report can also result in a psychic injury to a client.


As such, a client cannot be too well prepared for his or her dealing with the

CFI/PRE. The client should be made familiar with the CFI’s/PRE’s role in the case. The client should be told the process that the CFI/PRE is likely to use. The client should understand that there is no confidentiality between him or her and the CFI/PRE. The client should be made aware that the CFI/PRE is neither “on” his or her “side,” nor a lawyer for the child(ren). It is probably helpful for the client to be told what a report is likely to look like in terms of substance and issues covered. Finally, the client should be properly warned that the report is more likely than not to contain opinions that the client does not like or even agree with. Where possible, if the lawyer has an idea of what the CFI/PRE is likely to find as the client’s deficits, the lawyer should begin to discuss those issues with the Client. Lastly, all CFIs and PREs should be properly vetted before being agreed to by a lawyer” (Willoughby, 2014, p. 19).


As the best divorce attorney Denver area office, Willoughby & Associates is prepared to effectively handle every aspect of your unique case. Whether that involves dealing with CFIs and PREs or standing alongside you during divorce mediation, the attorneys at Willoughby & Associates are here to help your family transition. Read more about child and family investigators and parenting evaluators in “Chapter 38” of Lawyers’ Professional Responsibility in Colorado.


Willoughby, K. R. Esq., (2014). Family law. Lawyers’ Professional Liability in Colorado, 18-19.


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