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If you are a Colorado father in a contested child custody case, the court may appoint a CFI or PRE to evaluate the parties involved.

You can also retain one of these custody experts, also known as child and family investigators and parental responsibility evaluators.

The Dadvocates' attorneys can help fathers like you navigate the differences between a CFI and a PRE and what they can mean to your case.

Why Would a CFI or PRE Be Appointed or Retained?

Should your child custody case in Colorado become bitterly contested by opposing parties, you may need to call upon a specialized family investigator or mental health professional to work on your behalf. They are trained to look for evidence in ways that judges, lawyers, or yourself may not be able to.

The findings of a CFI, or child and family investigator, or PRE, or parental responsibility evaluator, could help protect your rights as a father when it comes to custody agreements, spousal support, keeping your finances safe, and disproving untrue allegations of abuse, negligence, or criminal activity that have been made against you.

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Fathers Like You

The family law legal team at The Dadvocates can help make an expert recommendation as to whether a CFI or PRE would be best for your individual child custody case needs. Our Colorado attorneys are 100% dedicated to putting your parental rights as a father first.

Your Child Custody Case Be Overwhelming Contacting The Dadvocates Can Help

Our law firm is focused on one thing: protecting the rights of Colorado dads going through child custody cases. Whether the issue is child support, custody, alimony, or allegations of abuse, The Dadvocates legal team is squarely in your corner. We are highly experienced in both criminal and civil law, which can be a big help to your custody case.

We can also advise you if a CFI or PRE is necessary to help your case.

If you are a father who needs legal help to avoid losing their child, let alone their freedom due to domestic violence or drug abuse accusations, contacting The Dadvocates to schedule a consultation at one of our Colorado offices is the first thing you should do. 

Feel free to use our online contact form or give us a call. Let's talk about how our team can achieve the best outcome for you and your child.

Office locations include:

  • Aspen
  • Boulder
  • Breckenridge
  • Broomfield
  • Colorado Springs / El Paso County
  • Crested Butte
  • Durango
  • Glenwood Springs
  • Grand Junction
  • Gunnison
  • Pueblo
  • Steamboat Springs
  • Vail

(720) 928-3432

5-Star Reviews for The Dadvocates from Happy Fathers


John Carter


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Samera Habib is a consummate professional who takes her responsibilities personally and handles her affairs diligently and with integrity.  Her clear thinking and open-minded approach gives her a distinct advantage over most of her peers.  Always very responsive and incredibly polite, her demeanor and optimism make interacting with her delightful.  She is very well prepared for meetings, highly organized and very creative.  I recommend Samera Habib enthusiastically and without reservation.

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Urban Forest Services


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I was very satisfied with the Dadvocates. Zachary Reibstein surpassed my expectations! He successfully entered a moton to modify protection order that was inhibiting my relationship with my children. The motion was approved and we were fortunate enough to not have to make a court appearance. The writing in the motion he entered was logical, compassionate, and effective! Great job Dadvocates!

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CFI vs. PRE? The Right Choice Can Make a Favorable Outcome a Reality

It is important for fathers to know exactly what a CFI and a PRE do in order to decide which kind of custody expert to retain. They both will investigate the facts of your case, but there are important differences regarding their professional specialties.

All About CFIs

Child and family investigators are the most commonly used experts in Colorado when it comes to child custody cases. They specialize in making recommendations in the involved child's or children's best interests regarding decisions that affect their future as well as parenting time.

A CFI will look into accusations or evidence of domestic violence if you, as a father, are being purposely being alienated from your child and if a proposed relocation of the child will harm them in any way.

What Is a CFI Investigation Like?

A CFI investigation itself could take 60 to 90 days and include the following:

  • Collecting information from both parents
  • Making investigative visits to the offices and/or homes of the child's parents
  • Interviewing the child involved in the custody case, if they are old enough
  • Interviewing friends, relatives, or other parties who can shed light on the case

CFIs in Colorado must complete an eligibility affidavit, complete 40 hours of advanced domestic dispute training, and pass a rigorous background check. They sometimes have a family law or social work background. They may also be a mental health professional but do not do drug or psychological testing. After the investigation is over, the CFI can be subpoenaed to testify in court.

It is important to cooperate fully and honestly with CFIs and present them with any information or documents they request, as this can only help you in the long run. Call our Colorado law firm to learn more about CFIs at (720) 928-3432.

All About PREs

A parental responsibility evaluator is a mental health expert with specific training to conduct child custody investigations. They conduct investigations that are much more involved than a CFI does, delving into issues such as sexual misconduct, drug abuse, and mental health issues. They also make recommendations involving parenting time, parental rights, visitation, relocation, custody, and if therapy for family members is needed. On average, a PRE's services will cost significantly more than a CFI's.

What Is a PRE Investigation Like?

A PRE investigation can take around 90 days and include the following:

  • Collecting information from both parents
  • Drug tests
  • Psychological tests
  • Observing parents' individual interactions with the child
  • Interview with your child (if old enough), relatives, and third parties like friends, teachers, etc.
  • Visits to parental homes and offices
  • Reviews emails, text messages, voice mails, etc.

The PRE is mandated to submit their findings to the court within 20 days before your hearing date.

Just like if a CFI is investigating your case, it will work on your behalf as the child's father to be as polite, honest, and cooperative with the PRE as possible. You cannot turn down a request for a drug or mental health test. However, you can call your Dadvocates Colorado attorney for advice at (720) 928-3432 if you feel uncomfortable with these kinds of tests for any reason.

So Which Should I Choose: CFI or PRE?

child and father

It all depends on your budget, your individual case, and the legal advice your family law professional at The Dadvocates offers you. If the PRE's fees are out of reach, CFIs are much more affordable.

However, if you have been accused of serious violations such as psychological issues, drug use, or abusing your child, you may want to opt for a PRE if possible. 

Remember, you want what is best for your child, despite budgetary concerns. Your Dadvocates attorney wants the same. Together, we will fight for your rights as a father and the best outcome for your child.

More Glowing Reviews from Satisfied Fathers


Ron Morales


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Kaitlyn, Samera, and their team are truly amazing. They will fight hard for what is right, and the firm truly is experts in high conflict cases. My case lasted over a year and their team was always very attentive to my questions and concerns. If you want what is best for your child, or have an ex who is trying to take advantage of you, trust that you will be in great hands with the Dadvocates. During trial they were very well organized and they did all they could to fight for what was fair. They are very professional and courteous. Divorce/custody was the most stressful event in my life, the firm did all they could to take the weight off my shoulders and put my mind at ease. Truly thank you all for all your efforts in this case!

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Greg Norris


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When a family splits, its easy to feel left in shock, confused, over-whelmed and often times completely and totally alone in the fight. Having a team like the one at SH Law behind you is invaluable. Attorney Samera Habib and her team helped me (and continues to help me) through the process of my separation and ongoing child custody matters with such care and devotion, seeing each of my cases through to the end and always with a judgment in my favor. They make me feel less alone in this. They make me feel like I have support. I would recommend SH Law to ANY Parent facing difficult separation or custody matters. They really do feel like part of OUR team at this point. My son and I. Thanks SH Law!

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The Dadvocates

The Dadvocates are the only lawyers exclusively focused on protecting the rights of fathers. Our attorneys have received awards and prestigious recognitions from Super Lawyers, Avvo, and the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys. We assist dads in a variety of legal matters, including:

You can request a consultation with our firm by filling out our online form or calling (720) 749-2876.

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