Safeguarding the Best Interests of Children
Divorce and family separation can be extremely difficult for a child to cope with, especially when parenting issues and custody are still unresolved. In these instances, a court-appointed Child and Family Investigator (CFI) is sometimes needed to advocate for the overall well-being of the child or children involved. A CFI’s primary goal is to ensure that the child’s best interests are always observed.
In general, a CFI is a court-appointed neutral who is tasked with conducting an investigation and making recommendations to the court on issues related to children of divorcing or separating parents.
Gavin Halligan of Halligan LLC is a highly skilled Colorado family law attorney and dedicated CFI. She has extensive experience with litigation and appeals in complex family law matters, including divorce and child custody. As a victim’s advocate, Attorney Halligan also has experience with issues such as child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and relocation. To learn more about Attorney Gavin Halligan's CFI services, contact Halligan LLC at (720) 608-2361 or contact us online.
The Challenges of Divorce and Separation
Divorcing or separating parents can face many challenges throughout a sometimes high-conflict litigation process. Some of these challenges include:
Parenting Time (formerly child custody)
Determining fairness can always be difficult for parents when working through parenting time issues. Shared parenting time is usually presumed, but if the child’s well-being is left unconsidered, egregious long-term consequences could arise.
The responsibilities associated with parental decision-making about education, health care, and other issues for the child(ren) are not to be taken lightly in Colorado. Parental decision-making rights have an enormous effect on the child’s well-being.
Child Abuse Allegations
Colorado authorities take child abuse allegations very seriously. In cases where child abuse allegations are present, the court will likely appoint a CFI or Parental Responsibility Evaluator (PRE) to conduct a thorough investigation. The courts in Colorado also take allegations of substance abuse seriously. If the court deems one parent’s substance abuse to be a danger to the children, it could negatively impact their parenting time and parental decision making authority.
When parents in Colorado separate or file for a divorce, sometimes one or both parties will relocate to a new city or even leave the state. This factor can greatly complicate matters of parenting time and may require the appointment of a CFI.
Options and Solutions
Gavin Halligan will do everything in her power to look after the safety and overall health of the child or the children of the relationship. In her CFI role, Gavin's primary goal in making recommendations to the court is to ensure a safe environment where the best interests of the child or children are met.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child and Family Investigators
A court can appoint a CFI on its own or the parents can request the court appoint a CFI. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the function of a CFI.
What is a Child and Family Investigator?
A CFI is a court-appointed third-party neutral investigator whose primary responsibility is to make recommendations in the best interests of a child undergoing the impact of a family transition such as divorce or parental separation. Substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, or parental relocation can also be components of the investigation. A CFI is usually an attorney or mental health professional.
When is a Child and Family Investigator needed?
The services of a CFI are most often needed in divorce or separation cases when there are disputes over parenting time schedules or shared responsibilities.
How do I get a Child and Family Investigator on my case?
In domestic relations cases, a CFI must be appointed by the court to investigate specific aspects of the family dynamic. Even if you and your spouse both agree on the need for a CFI, you must still ask the court to appoint one.
There have been very few instances in which the parties agree a CFI is needed and the Judge refuses to grant the motion. If the Judge agrees with the need for a CFI, then it comes down to who the CFI will be.
If the parties do not agree upon who the CFI will be, the courts usually have each party submit proposed names and the Court appoints one of those proposed by the parties.
How does a Child and Family Investigator conduct the investigation?
A CFI typically conducts an investigation by interviewing you, the other parent, the child(ren), and other persons related to the best interests of the child(ren), such as their teachers, family friends, and any involved medical/mental health professionals. A home visit is usually required. If necessary, and depending upon what specific issues are in dispute, a CFI also obtains documents such as medical records, police reports, or other relevant paperwork. The CFI sometimes may have to testify at trial if the parents do not settle. The presiding judge, however, makes all final decisions if the parties do not settle.
Contact a Colorado Child and Family Investigator
Gavin Halligan of Halligan, LLC, is an experienced Colorado family law attorney and dedicated CFI. With her additional background as a victim’s advocate, she is committed to safeguarding the best interests of children.
To inquire about our CFI services and whether Gavin may potentially be a good fit in your family relations case, contact the Halligan LLC office in Denver at (720) 608-2361 or reach out to us online to book an appointment.