A Child and Family Investigator (CFI) may be appointed by the court in cases involving allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. The CFI's job is to investigate the child's environment and experience with each parent and gather evidence. The investigation may include touring the home, questioning the parents, and speaking to family members, teachers, and doctors. A written report is compiled by the CFI for the Court with recommendations for solving the issues with the child's best interest in mind.
Does a CFI take a child's wishes into account?
A CFI may certainly take the child's wishes into account, however, a CFI's primary concern is the best interest of the child. Since a child's wishes and best interest can sometimes conflict, the CFI does not need to adopt such wishes into his or her recommendations to the Court.
Are CFI's required?
The court may choose to appoint a CFI either on its own accord or at the request of either party. They are not mandatory in every case.
Should I obtain a CFI in my case?
You may want to request a CFI if you are concerned that your child may be experiencing abuse or neglect by the other party. A CFI is also useful to make an objective assessment regarding the child when there are conflicting positions and versions of events by each parent. CFI's can investigate alleged drug or alcohol abuse. Evidence gathered in the report can be utilized in your case to help protect your child. Also, a CFI can be advantageous in cases where you have been falsely accused of abuse or neglect as the CFI can gather evidence that counters those accusations. In many cases the CFI can perform psychological testing which can assist in making a fair assessment of the personalities of all parties and the children.