When we’re dealing with custody evaluations or co-parenting evaluations, there are two types. There’s a CFI, a child family investigator, and then there’s a PRE, a parental responsibilities evaluator.
Tip of the iceberg vs. deep dive
Think of a child and family investigator as a flat fee. You’re not going over. Think of it as the tip of the iceberg. It’s all the things that everyone can see that are important and go to the best interests of the child. A PRE is like a CFI on steroids. They do mental health evaluations. It’s the deep dive. It’s when there’s domestic violence, when one of the parents is a narcissist, or when there are parental alienation allegations. All of these things are extremely important and it’s critical to understand the difference.
CFI is the tip of the iceberg, a fixed fee, and you see what’s on the surface. PRE is much more expensive, and they dig much deeper. You have to determine whether it is important, and whether you need a CFI. Or would that just escalate things more?
Why you shouldn’t be afraid
If there’s domestic violence, are you afraid of that? Don’t be afraid. The big takeaway here is this: If there’s going to be mental health testing, it’ll be mental health testing on both sides. With the CFI, you’re not going to have that, but you’re also not going to have the deep dive.
The PRE are also very, very expensive because you have mental health professionals that are doing this. They’re doing a deep dive. It’s everything that’s under the iceberg, that makes up the majority of the iceberg, and not just the tip of the iceberg. It gets confusing, and it can get scary. Stay focused. Stick to the data, trust your instincts, and you’re going to be okay.