Courts often appoint a parenting expert to make recommendations regarding custody of children when the parents can’t agree. This allows the Judge to have more information when making the very difficult decisions they are asked to decide in complex custody cases.
In Colorado, there are two types of evaluators that may be appointed: Child Family Investigators and Parental Responsibility Evaluators. Both evaluators will speak to the parents and guardians, as well as the children. They will eventually make a recommendation to the Judge regarding the best interests of the child, which is the standard the Judge uses to make custody decisions in Colorado.
In most cases, at least one of the parties is likely to be disappointed, or even angry about, the evaluator’s recommendation. For example, if the parents are divorcing and living in different states, it is almost always the case that only one parent will have primary parenting time with the child. The other parent is likely to disagree with the evaluator’s recommendation.
If this happened to you, you may feel angry, disappointed and heart-broken. The first thing to do is to remember that the evaluator was appointed to look at everything from a neutral point of view, and make a decision based on what is best for your child-not what is best for the parents. Although you don’t agree with what the evaluator told the Judge, try to read the report with an open mind and attempt to understand what the evaluator saw that made them come to the conclusions they did.
If you still believe the evaluator is wrong, you can still argue your position to the Judge. The evaluator’s recommendation is only one piece of evidence that the Judge considers in making their decision. You have the opportunity to present your own evidence and even cross examine the evaluator on the things you think they missed or got wrong in their report.
For more information, or to speak with an attorney about your case, contact Knies, Helland & McPherson Law at 719-626-8530.