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Child and Family Investigator

Started by Gram, Feb 14, 2006, 07:14:01 AM

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Has anyone had any experience with a Special Advocate in Colorado (now called a Child and Family Investigator)? My ex boyfriend, father of my 18 mo. daughter is requesting a CFI to determine what's "in her best interests" before we go to court for final orders. This sounds expensive and scary. We never lived together, never married, and my daughter has never spent the night away from me. Her father takes her to his mother's house for a 6 hour visit every Sat., and that's all she can handle. She comes home hungry, tired, over-excited and is very clingy. I'm afraid of what the CFI will recommend.


The CFI is just a hired gun.  If he hires them they willl be his gun to use on you.  He can recommend and the court will ok it unless you can recommend your own.  Submit your own list to the court.  Do not let him get his first choice.  My x wife has used CFI's successfully against me only because I could not afford my own.  CFI's are very expensive-$3,000 to $10,000 for each evaluation.  if he gets a CFI, do not be lulled into thinking that they are there for the best interests of your children-they are not your friend.  They are in it for the money.  If his lawyer recommended the CFI it is because he gets the results that he wants from them.  Do not beleive that these "professional" people are honorable.  Do whatever you can to get your own CFI appointed.  Judges like to have a CFI involved because it takes them off the hook.
In 90% of the cases the judge will just Rubber stamp what the CFI says.
Know now that you are entering very expensive waters.  You have one major thing going for you that puts you one step up.  You are a woman.  Colorado favors the women 9 to 1.  Now , having said that I will tell you that the best interest of the child is to have equal access to both the father and the mother.  That is if you want to have a healthy child.  If you want money then go for sole custody and limited visitation for the father.  If you are able to match him dollar for dollar in the custody procedings you will win.  But , as I said a child (especially a girl) needs access to their father.  I would reccomend that you sit down with him and try to work out an equitable visitation and a shared custody arraingement.  If you leave it to a judge one or both of you will be dissapointed .  Judges say they do things in the best interests of the child but in my experience all they do is screw things up.  Work things out on your own with the X.  Give a little -take a little.  It will be more harmonious in the end and your child will be best served by harmony between her parents.  Thats all I have got to say


Thank you for answering my questions. Since I originally wrote, we had a CFI appointed, and went through the evaluation process. At first the court appointed a CFI that I chose, then changed it to one he chose because mine wouldn't do the evaluation unless both parents agreed to use him. The CFI report was horribly biased in his favor, based on his lies, and the recommendations to the court are confusing and contradictory. So now my lawyer says we have to motion for a "full custody evaluation" which the court may or may not allow, and which I have to pay for. $10,000!! You are totally right... I was naive going into the CFI process, didn't want to bad-mouth dad, and trusting that this guy would be fair. I actually thought he would have my child's best interests at heart. I feel so stupid.
I would appreciate hearing from you again. Since you're a dad, I'd really like your opinion on how to get my child's father to mediate and settle this out of court. I want him to be important in her life. I want her to have her father. I'm not trying to keep her from him. But he's angry that I won't agree to his demands (overnights right now, even though she's never lived with him or spent the night away from me and is still in diapers; no right of first refusal, he wants to leave her with whoever he wants during his time) He won't speak to me or even look at me when picking up or dropping off our child. There's been too much attorney involvement, too many hard feelings. The court ruled that we have to mediate, but even if he goes, he won't compromise. I just don't know how to get through to him.


Gram,  I was surprised that you answered-I really was beginning to think that no one used this site.  May I ask who the CFI's were and who the judges have been?  I am compiling a list to publish in the future. You are right, I am a Dad.  My Girls are 13 and 16.  I may say some things here that you may not want to hear.  One is that your X has just as much right to see the children as you do.  I changed a lot of diapers.  My kids were 1 and 4 when I was divorced.  Just because he is a man does not mean that he can not take care of children.  Two, I am a firm believer that children need both parents and should have equal access to them.  I do not know what county or court you are in but pretty much most of the courts in this state will give you custody in a dispute.  About the only way this would not happen is if the judge saw you shooting up heroin as you walked into court.   What is your X asking for and what don't you want him to have?  That info might shed a little more light on the matter for me to give you any input.
 What I do know is if you leave it to Lawyers and Judges your daughters life will be screwed up forever.  For them it is only about the money no matter how much they say that it is in the Best Interest of the child and they say you should trust them.  The family court system is set up for them to keep you in it for as long as they can.  They all keep their jobs that way and their fat salaries.  You will spend money putting their kids through college and have none left to put yours through school.  My X is still running me through the courts  almost 14 years after divorce and over $150,000  in legal fees (and those are just my fees, I imagine hers are similar).  Can you imagine the college my kids could go to if that money were in their college fund.  Everytime we end up in court,  my kids are tramitized and their mother has been practicing a parental alienation tactic.  My kids and I had a wonderful relationship until the last court date this past July.  Now they are afraid to see or talk to me for fear of what their Mother will say and do.  I hope that this is not what you would want for your daughter.   I have never started a proceeding-I hate courts and lawyers and judges now.
  Right now with the little info I have from you is to give you this advice-give a little and take a little.  If you want to discuss further I am available here.  I won't wish you luck-I will wish your daughter luck.  I hope in the long run that she is the winner and not you or your X.  I hope you can understand what I just said.

Just one more thing about what you said about the overnights now because she is still in diapers and has never spent a night away from you.  Children bond at this early age-do you want her to bond just with you.  A child is best served when they bond with both parents, all contemporary child studies state this fact.  And when is a good time to start the overnights.  Unless you are breast feeding her I do not understand why she shouldn't have overnights with her father unless he is a drug addict or something.  To ease the transition you might write out the schedule you have her on so that he can keep to it.
This guy must have some redeaming qualities-You did marry him.

well, enough said for now.  If I sound to pro-Dad to you,  You must understand that I am a good Father who has been run through the ringer and I am seeing first hand how much my Daughters are being screwed up by this whole thing and the family court system

Good night!    


Almost anything you ever wanted to know about the Colorado "child and family investigator" (f/k/a "special advocate") system may be found at: //www.KnowYourCOurts.com  We have uncovered what appears to be multi-million dollar "racket" that is inclusive of the state legislature, Colorado Supreme Court committees, the Family Law Section of the bar assoc. and even the federal court.

While visiting the site, consider contributing information or documentary evidence to help expand the database.  If you find anything interesting thereon, come back here and post your conclusions to share with others.


I also had a biased CFI; biased against me (the father).  Her total bill came out to about $6K, and she had a fantastic reputation, but didn't really do her job.  My wife had kidnapped our son when I filed for divorce, but the CFI appeared to be ignoring that fact and many others, including her attempts to alienate him from me and her constant verbal harrassment during exchanges.  I was becoming worried at the benign questions the CFI asked; not the questions a true investigator should ask.  Thankfully, we paid $3K for psychiatric evaluations.  The CFI duped me into thinking that these evaluations would be thurough, but in fact, they were fairly superficial.  My exwife's thinking was screwey enough that the psychologist believed every word I said and gave me a glowing parenting report, but seh also included a lot of irrelevant and negative speculation about me and my relationship history, which the CFI harped on.  It became clear that the CFI didn't like me personally.  The CFI mostly ignored the positive information about me and the negative information about my ex-wife in the report and charged us $200 per hour to write a report that reccomended against me having my son for anything but short visits.  It was unfathomable.  She provided a vague parenting plan that was impractical.  In the end, the judge didn't pay attention to the nonsense in the report and focused on the facts.  On the stand, the CFI could not come up with anything significantly bad about me that related to family law.  The judge completely disregarded almost every aspect of the CFI's report and ruled a semi-fair parenting plan.  

There are good books out there for CFI's to go by, but mine had her own opinions that were not based much in law nor psychology (she is an attorney).  I would at least reccomend a psychologist as a CFI.  I hear judges pick them about 50-50.  Of course it is up to the judge who you get.  

What would have been much better is if my wife had listened in the parenting class and implemented it.  Our son still emotionally suffers from her bad (and now illegal) behavior that does not support his relationship with me and his half-brothers.  We could have saved probably $20K if she would only done what was right in the first place.  Last I heard she's planning to take me back to court, but she doesn't have the money.  Neither do I for that matter.


related to this topic, (main thread is under Custody forums)

Had hearing regarding the Emergency Change to Parenting Time to see if the changes should stay in place.  Answer was, YES!!!


Judgehad some questions about the proposed motion that both sides wereagreeing on regarding provisions for supervised parenting time.  Orderis now in effect for the next few months until there will be a largerhearing to determine what the new permanent parenting plan shouldbe.......

Any suggestions for supporting my side of the casewould be welcomed.  Children's mother is supposed to get a psychevaluation in a few weeks.  That will help understand what issues arein play here.  Perhaps my biggest concern/worry right now is that thereare 3 'expert' opinions that are going to weigh in at the hearing, kidscounselor, mother's counselor, the evaluating psychologist, and maybethe parenting time supervisors.  Some of these may have some tendencyfor bias towards mother (e.g. sympathy for her out weighingbest-interest of kids).  I scratch my head wondering how I can get someleverage?......


I am new to this site and not sure how it works, but i am trying to let as many people as I can, know that the CFI/PRE investigation was a HUGE racket during my divorce.
Every CFI proposed to me, was a hack at best, but I was off-balance, scared and trusted my attorney's advice.
The woman we ended up with had already been accused of gender bias (both ways) numerous times, and had to defend herself in court to even get appointed! After she almost ruined my & my daughter's life, I did some more research on her. Other people who used her in the past said she needed "serious psychological help" and that she "cried on the stand" when defending her findings!
And these people make a living, screwing up our children's lives!!!
In my case, the CFI completely ignored significant evidence against my ex, believed all the lies thrown her way, and even listened to the opinion of my cheating ex's, cheating lover as a CHARACTER REFERENCE for parenting skills.

No matter what you do, DO NOT USE DR. MAUREEN COLE as a Child & Family Investigator, as a PRE or as a therapist in any way. The woman is very sick.