Overview of Various Allocation of Parental Responsibility Experts

Child custody parent and child

Child’s Legal Representative (CLR)

A Child’s Legal Representative (CLR) is an attorney appointed pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-116 to represent the best interests of the child.  The key concept here is that the lawyer does not represent the child, but the child’s “best interests.” 

The CLR is not a mouthpiece to parrot the child’s wishes. The CLR actively participates in the case, but unlike a CFI or a PRE, is not a neutral expert who can testify. The CLR may write a report, but then, as with any other attorney, at a hearing the CLR examines witnesses, and argues for a certain outcome.

Child & Family Investigator (CFI)

C.R.S. 14-10-116.5 authorizes the court to appoint a Child & Family Investigator (CFI). CFI fees are capped currently at $2,750.

The CFI is tasked with investigating, reporting, and making recommendations in the children’s best interests on issues as specifically directed by the Court. The CFI is the neutral investigative arm of the Court, responsible to the Court, not to either parent. After issuing a report, the CFI may be called as a witness to testify.

The CFI may not conduct psychological or drug/alcohol testing, but must instead report back to the Court and recommend such testing. A CFI may be an attorney or a mental health professional, or anyone else with appropriate training acceptable to the Court.

Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE)

Should the parties or court desire a more in-depth evaluation of the parenting issues, an expert may be appointed to conduct a parental responsibilities evaluation pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-127, and allocate costs between the parties, or to one party.

A PRE is typically used in higher-conflict custody cases, or where there are multiple issues which need investigating. Either party can request that one be appointed. A PRE usually conducts psychological testing.

Whereas appointment of a PRE upon request by a party was previously mandatory, the word “shall” has been replaced with “may”. C.R.S. 14-10-127(1)(a)(I).

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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