Practice Area: Child and Family Investigator (CFI)


Child Welfare

Child Welfare includes a variety of issues and case types (Domestic Relations, Dependency & Neglect/PRNP, Juvenile Delinquency, Adoption).  In Gabriela’s current practice, she focuses on domestic relations cases where she serves as a Child and Family Investigator (CFI).  Divorce, separation and disputes regarding allocation of parental responsibilities are stressful events.  In addition to coping with divorce or separation, parents need to be mindful about the impact such family reconfiguration can have on their children.

A CFI is appointed by a judge to assist the court in making the right choices for children, focusing on their best interests.  As a CFI, Gabriela will independently investigate the relevant issues and make recommendations as to parental responsibilities which may include decision-making, parenting time, or relocation.

Regardless of who requests the CFI appointment, the Court may apportion the CFI’s fees and costs to both of the parties, or to one of them.  If either party is indigent, the state of Colorado may pay all or a portion of the fee at the state rate.

The most recent Chief Justice Directive, amended in November 2011, caps the CFI fees at $2000. If the fees are going to be higher than that, the CFI may go back to Court to explain that extraordinary circumstances exist and the additional fee is justified.


Dependency & Neglect cases involve the physical, sexual or emotional abuse and neglect of children.  In these cases, a Guardian ad Litem is appointed by the court to perform an independent investigation.  The Department of Human Services is the Petitioner in these cases.  Parents are required to successfully complete a “treatment plan” and the termination of parental rights is a possible outcome.