Parental Responsibility Evaluations (custody evaluation) may be requested in all custody cases.  The appointment of a PRE is governed by C.R.S. § 14-10-127 and is in the court’s discretion upon request or either or both parties, or upon the court’s own motion.  The parties and their children are ordered by the court to cooperate with the evaluation.

The cost of a PRE is usually paid in advance by the requesting party, but subject to reallocation between the parties at the final hearing.  Evaluations can be expensive and may range from $5,000 to $15,000 or more depending upon the issues in dispute and the evaluator selected.  Evaluators are licensed mental health professionals and usually hold doctorate degrees (Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D, M.D.).  Psychological testing and assessment of both parties is common during the course of the evaluation.

The evaluation is extensive and results in a report with recommendations being filed with the court at least 21 days before the final hearing.  Supplemental evaluations may be requested by either party to rebut the results of the first evaluation.  The evaluation and report focuses on all of the best interests of the child statutory criteria and makes recommendations concerning the allocation of parental responsibilities, decision-making and parenting time.

The assessment made by the Parental Responsibilities Evaluator (PRE) is significantly more comprehensive than the investigation made by a Child and Family Investigator (CFI) and may take 3 to 6 months, or more, to complete.

The information provided above is general in nature, is not intended as legal advice for your particular situation and should not be relied upon without first consulting with legal counsel.