Best Interest

 

“The Best Interests Of The Child In Colorado”

 

“Best interest of the child(ren)” is the over-arching principle that Colorado courts use to make their rulings on custody, visitation, maintenance, etc.  Colorado courts are “gender-neutral” when making these evaluations, meaning that each parent has an equal opportunity to receive primary custody of the children.  However, once a divorce is finalized, a change in circumstances may require a modification or amendment in parental or visitation rights – up to and including modification of the parenting plan.

 

CHILD & FAMILY INVESTIGATORS (CFIs)

If there is disagreement between the parties as to who should have primary custody, the court may appoint a Child and Family Investigator (CFI).  They will interview both parties – and in many cases, the children as well – to assess the relative impact and environment of both parents, and their relationship with the children.  The CFI’s recommendation is not a final statement; however, they tend to carry a significant weight with the court, and their recommendations are very often adopted by the court.  Either party may object to the CFI’s recommendations, in whole or in part, and present their perspective as to what a better approach would be.

 

What Is a Child and Family Investigator (CFI)?

Usually a mental health professional, a CFI is a neutral party in the divorce.  They are not allowed to take the side of either parent, and instead are an advocate of the child(ren).  They are court-appointed and investigate the case, making recommendations to the court on custody, parenting-time/visitation and who the primary decision maker ought to be.  They are the court’s “eyes and ears” in helping to define and decide what is in the best interest of the child(ren).

 

The CFI will generally ask for a broad selection of interviewees from both parties, so as to get the best representation of your child’s environment.  This will include you and the other party, and may include teachers, group leaders, doctors, and other adults who have a significant role in their lives.  The questions can cover any conceivable topic that might impact the well-being and environment of your children including:

  • Where the child(ren) should live
  • How much time they should spend with each parent
  • History of alcohol and drug use
  • History, alleged or in fact, of domestic violence
  • Special needs that the child(ren) might have
  • Each child(ren)’s relationship with each parent
  • How the parents can / cannot communicate and work together, for the best interests of the child(ren)

 

These are important sessions that you need to be prepared for.  The information you and the other interviewees share with the CFI will determine (in large part) what the CFI’s recommendations are.  A CFI’s recommendations can be challenged, but it is difficult to do so. 

 

If you feel that your perspective was not accurately portrayed, be sure to work with your attorney to determine the best path forward.

 

For More Information About A Child’s Best Interests Call: (303) 990-5308