In Colorado, if you have kids and you’re involved in divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities (“APR”) litigation, you may need to consider whether a Child and Family Investigator (“CFI”) or Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (“PRE”) needs to be appointed in your case.  You may also be faced with the fact that the appointment may happen whether you like it or not.  Not all cases require the appointment of a CFI or PRE.  If one is recommended, there are important distinctions between the two that you should be aware of.  The CFI’s role is to investigate, report, and make recommendations to the court on issues that affect the best interests of the minor and dependent children involved.  It is a brief assessment that is non-intrusive, efficient, and cost-effective (as opposed to a more intrusive and comprehensive evaluation or battery of psychological tests for example).  There is a maximum fee that a CFI can charge you.  The CFI cannot charge you more than the maximum fee unless there is a court order specifically finding that extraordinary circumstances exist.  If parties qualify, all or a portion of the CFI’s fees will be paid by the state.  The CFI is required to collect data and conduct an investigation sufficient to provide competent recommendations.  CFIs are required to undergo federal background checks.  CFIs must also qualify for and be listed on Colorado’s Statewide Eligibility Roster.  CFIs shall attain a level of competence that includes an understanding of both the legal and psychological/social issues that are typically present in dissolution or parenting cases, and shall maintain and regularly update his or her training in relevant areas.  A PRE must be performed by either the court probation department, any county or district social services department, or a qualified and licensed mental health professional.  Currently, there is no state-pay funding for a PRE and no specific maximum fee has been set.  If a CFI is appointed and believes evaluations or psychological testing by a mental health professional would benefit the parties or the children and assist the Court, the CFI is able to provide that information and recommendation to the court.