Mettler Child Custody Services, LLC
    
    Mark M. Mettler
    PO Box 68
    Masonville, CO 80541
    970-225-0073 Office  970-214-1558 Cell
    970-225-0073 Fax
    mettlermark@yahoo.com        

Court Sanctions and Processes for the Child and Family Investigator

Child and Family Investigators are appointed by the Court in domestic relations cases for the purpose of assisting the
Court in making decisions regarding the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time.  The goal of the
investigation is to arrive at a plan that meets the “best interests of the child”.  This standard generally means a plan
that is most likely to assure the continued healthy development of the child both physically and emotionally.  

The Child and Family Investigator is authorized by the Court to collect information regarding the family and this is
accomplished by direct interviews, phone contacts, observations of interactions between family members, e-mails,
review of treatment records, or written correspondence.  Information may be obtained from collateral sources such as
schools, treatment providers, churches, department of social services, or law enforcement agencies.  Who the
investigator speaks to depends on the nature of the case.  There is no prescribed way to do an investigation that
meets the needs of all families.  

The role of the Child and Family Investigator is not to be confused with that of a mediator, therapist, arbitrator, or
attorney.  The Child and Family Investigator are not expected to resolve conflicts or provide therapeutic interventions
for the adversarial parties.  The Child and Family Investigator will investigate the families ability to problem solve and
resolve conflicts. The Child and Family Investigator can assist a family by sharing information that reduces conflict or
improves communication.  They may share ideas regarding effective parenting or co-parenting.  It would be desirable
to arrive at an agreed upon plan for parenting as a result of the investigative process.

In some instances the Child and Family Investigator may be appointed as a parenting coordinator if it is determined
those services would benefit the family.  This occurs by the agreement of all parties and through an order of the Court.

Mandated Reporter
The Child and Family Investigator is a mandated reporter.  A mandated reporter is required to contact law enforcement
or the department of social services if child abuse or neglect is suspected.   


Confidentiality
Confidentiality is limited as the result of services being provided through court order.   Information obtained through
the investigation may be used to further evaluate or assess concerns raised by either of the parties in the case.  
Attorneys involved in the case are entitled to see copies of the record and communications between the attorney and
Child and Family Investigator are shared with all parties involved in the case.  There are no communications with the
Court without prior notification to the involved parties to the case.  The case file and report to the Court are
confidential and will not be shared with anyone, but the appointing judge, parties to the case, and their attorneys.

The parties will sign any releases necessary to allow the Child and Family Investigator to properly conduct the
investigation.

Recommendations
The Child and Family Investigator are required to share with the Court the desires of the child/children regarding
where they wish to live and with whom.  This does not mean that the recommendations will necessarily be the
child/children’s wish.  The recommendation will be what is perceived to best meet the needs of the child/children and
be in their best interest with respect to future growth and development.

If possible a meeting will be set to review a draft of the investigator’s report with the involved parties before the report
is filed with the Court.  This will allow for parties to share concerns and correct any factual errors that may appear in
the report.  The desire would be to meet with only the parents.  If a parent insists that their attorney attend, both
attorneys must attend, or the meeting will not be held.  The purpose of this meeting is not to argue the merits of the
recommendation, but to correct possible errors and to give the parents the opportunity to hear those
recommendations before appearing in court.

Communication with attorneys and pro se parents
Chief Justice Directive 04-08 states that there is to be no non-disclosed communication with one party’s counsel.  This
means that conversations had with your attorney are to be shared with the opposing party’s attorney.  This will be
done unless some other arrangement is arrived at by all parties prior to the beginning of the investigation.  Attempts
will be made to define general information that can be shared without notification of the other party or other party’s
counsel.

Communications by an attorney or pro se parent with the Child and Family Investigator regarding qualifications,
availability for meetings, questions about fees, or about how services will be provided, will not be shared with the other
party’s attorney.

It is requested that each attorney or pro se parent contact the Child and Family Investigator 10 days from the date of
the order appointing the Child and Family Investigator to arrange for their first meeting.  Attorneys should also contact
the Child and Family Investigator to provide prior orders of the court or any other documentation that would assist the
Child and Family Investigator in the completion of the investigation.


Attorneys may communicate with the Child and Family Investigator to clarify the position of their client or to express
client concerns.  This can be best accomplished in writing to assure accuracy of the information shared.  This
information will then be shared with the opposing counsel.  It is suggested that attorneys copy the other attorney
involved in the case with any written correspondence sent to the Child and Family Investigator.  If the attorney contacts
the Child and Family Investigator by phone, it is requested that they contact the other attorney either prior to calling or
immediately after speaking to the Child and Family Investigator.

Communication with parents
Parents are encouraged to speak with the Child and Family Investigator and to share information that they think should
be considered as part of the investigation.  These communications should focus on the needs of the child/children.  
History that is related to the care of the child/children and plans for parenting are important information.  The parent
must keep in mind that the Child and Family Investigator are to remain impartial and that information shared may be
shared with the other party.

Communication with child/children
The child will be interviewed, if age appropriate and her/his wishes will be shared with the Court.  The type of interview
that occurs will depend on the child’s ability to communicate and her/his level of maturity.  Efforts should be made by
the parents to not unduly influence the communications of their child/children.

The intent of the limits placed on communication is to maintain as impartial a position as possible in the act of
completing the investigation.  It is hoped that all parties will feel free to share pertinent information and that that
information will lead to a constructive plan regarding the parenting of the child/children.

Complaints or concerns
You are encouraged to express concerns you have regarding the services of the Child and Family Investigator to the
Child and Family Investigator.  Be advised that sexual intimacy on any level between the Child and Family Investigator
and a client is illegal and should be reported.  
Individuals filing formal complaints regarding CFI noncompliance or
performance must do so through the online "Child and Family Investigator Formal Complaint Procedures and Form"
("CFI Complaint For") on the Colorado Judicial website:

http://www.courts.state.co.us/Administration/Section.cfm?Section=jp3domprog.


To review the statutes that refer to the appointment of the CFI see C.R.S. 14-10-116.5, LexisNexis website (http://198.
187.128.12/colorado/1pext.dll?f=templates&fn=fs-main.htm&2.0), for the standards regulating the CFI, see Chief
Justice Directive 04-08, November 2005 at (http://www.courts.state.co.us/supct/directives/supctdirectives.htm).