How to Prepare for A Parental Responsibilities Evaluation

Parental Relocation

You are amid a custody battle regarding your child(ren) and you and your spouse do not agree on parenting time and decision-making responsibility. A parental responsibilities Evaluator (“PRE”) has been appointed in your case to complete an investigation and report recommending what is in the best interests of your children.  

This is a nerve-racking process to say the least.  The following provides the general purpose and duties of the PRE and guidelines of what to do and what to avoid during the PRE investigation.

Purpose of a PRE

The PRE is a person appointed by the Court to investigate, report, and make independent and informed recommendations as to the issues that affect the best interests of the minor child(ren) concerning parenting time, decision-making, and other special matters. PREs are always mental health professionals.  The basis of the PRE’s investigation is the best interests of the child(ren).  The PRE is not an advocate for the child(ren), but rather, makes recommendations based on what he or she believes would be best for the child(ren).  The PRE is to conduct an objective, non-judgmental investigation of the parties’ situation, taking into account the different backgrounds, values, and cultural considerations of the family.

Duties of the PRE

The PRE will do the following:

  • Meet with each parent and the child(ren);
  • Complete and analyze psychological testing;
  • Meet with and observe the child(ren).
  • Observe the interaction between the child(ren) and the parents;
  • Evaluate the home itself;
  • Review court files and relevant records, reports, and documents; and
  • Interview people involved in the child(ren)’s lives (relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, counselors, etc.)
  • Issue a written report regarding his or her findings and recommendations regarding parenting time, decision-making in the best interests of the child(ren).

Dos and Don’ts

Do:

  • Realize that the PRE in your case has been appointed by the Court.  Anything the Court orders you or the PRE to do must be complied with.
  • Pay your PRE.
  • Speak openly with the PRE.
  • Gather your supporting witnesses accordingly (collateral witnesses).
  • Submit all paperwork to the PRE in a timely fashion.
  • Present your issues as “about” your child(ren), not about your spouse/partner or you.  
  • You need to be able to clearly state what you can do to ameliorate the bad effects of the divorce/breakup.  You cannot control the other parent.  Thus, what things can you do in your parenting to ensure that your child(ren) feels that with you, the he or she is put first?  You need to be able to articulate this very well.
  • If you think the other parent has parenting deficits, explain what you can do during your time with your child(ren) to make up for those deficits.
  • Take some responsibility for problems your child(ren) has, and for the breakup of the marriage or partnership.
  • Say at least something nice about the other parent.
  • Listen to what the PRE asks you.  You do not have to tell him or her the history of everything in the first meeting.  Tell the important parts.  Listen to the PRE’s questions so that you know what he or she wants from you, and what he or she thinks is important.

Don’t:

  • Present your issues as “about” your spouse/partner. Don’t let him or her paint that picture of you with your own words. 
  • Don’t badmouth the other parent.  Ironically, this will reflect badly on you and not necessarily the other parent.
  • Raise issues about the small stuff.

Kalamaya | Goscha is a Colorado law firm founded by Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha. We guide and support clients through the PRE process. Our boutique mountain law practice specializes in divorce, child custody, and family law. Kalamaya | Goscha has law offices in Edwards, Aspen, and Glenwood Springs. To speak to one of our capable attorneys call (970) 315-2365.

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