November 18, 2018

SB 14-027: Requiring Criminal Background Checks for Law License Applicants and CFIs

On Wednesday, January 8, 2014, Sen. Lucia Guzman introduced SB 14-027 – Concerning Criminal History Background Checks for Professionals Who Have the Authority to Appear in Court. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill requires a fingerprint-based criminal history background check for a law license applicant and a child and family investigator. The bill updates the license to practice law statute. The bill cleared the Judiciary and the Finance Committees on Jan. 15 and 23 respectively; it now goes to the full Senate for consideration on 2nd Reading.

Colorado State Judicial Branch Revises Several Domestic Relations Forms

This is Part 2 of 4 posts about new forms from State Judicial. Check back soon for more updates, and click here for Part 1.

The Colorado State Judicial Branch revised 23 forms and instructions in the Domestic Relations category in July. These included the flowcharts, steps, and instructions for getting a divorce (with and without children of the marriage), the Petition and Summons for Dissolution or Legal Separation, Affidavit for Decree Without Appearance of the Parties, forms regarding income assignments, and forms regarding allocation of parental responsibilities to parents and grandparents. Practitioners should begin using the new forms immediately.

Most forms are available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) and Microsoft Word formats; many are also available as Word and Excel templates. Download the new forms from State Judicial’s individual forms pages, or below.

Domestic Relations

  • JDF 1095 – “Flowchart to Getting a Divorce or Legal Separation With No Children of this Marriage” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1096 – “Flowchart to Getting a Divorce or Legal Separation With Children of this Marriage” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1097 – “General Steps to Getting a Divorce or Legal Separation With No Children of this Marriage” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1098 – “General Steps to Getting a Divorce or Legal Separation With Children of this Marriage” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1099 – “Instructions for Filing a Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation if There are No Children of this Marriage or the Children are Legally Emancipated” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1100 – “Instructions for Filing a Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation With Children” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1325 – “Instructions to Convert Decree of Legal Separation to Decree of Dissolution of Marriage” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1418i – “Instructions to File a Motion Concerning Parenting Time Disputes” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1101 – “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1102 – “Summons for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1201 – “Affidavit for Decree Without Appearance of Parties” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1230 – “Petition/Motion for Abduction Prevention Measures” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1318 – “Order Appointing Child and Family Investigator” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1320 – “Order Appointing Legal Representative of the Child” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1327 – “Order Appointing Decision-Maker” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1329 – “Order Appointing Parenting Coordinator” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1332 – “Order for an Evaluation and Report” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1338 – “Mandatory Disclosure” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1413 – “Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1703 – “Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities to Grandparent(s)” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1806 – “Advance Notice of Activation of an Income Assignment” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1808 – “Objection to the Activation of an Income Assignment” (revised 7/12)
  • JDF 1809 – “Notice to Employer to Deduct for Health Insurance” (revised 7/12)

For a complete list of Domestic Relations forms from State Judicial, click here.

Order Appointing CFI Amended by Chief Justice

Attachment A of Chief Justice Directive 04-08 was revised this week. CJD 04-08 concerns Court Appointments of Child and Family Investigators and Attachment A is an Order Appointing Child and Family Investigator. Attachment A is the only portion of the CJD that was revised.

Attachment A was amended to reflect the new law requiring the court appointed CFI to affirmatively disclose any relationships that could create a conflict in the court-appointed role.

The details are outlined in CJD 04-08 – “Directive Concerning Statewide Electronic Filing Standards”

If you have questions concerning this revision, contact Bill Delisio, Family Law Program Manager, at (303) 837-3623 or bill.delisio@judicial.state.co.us.

Appointment and Training Policies Amended for GALs, CFIs, and Child’s Representatives

The Colorado Supreme Court has amended a Chief Justice Directive, which governs court appointments through the Office of the Child’s Representative. The changes were made to CJD 04-06, which was adopted to assist the administration of justice through the best interest appointment and training of Guardians ad Litem (GALs), attorney Child and Family Investigators, and Child’s Representatives appointed on behalf of minors/children (under age 18).

CJD 04-06 – “Court Appointments Through the Office of the Child’s Representative” – revised and adopted effective January 1, 2012.

State Judicial Again Revises Form Regarding the Appointments of CFIs

The Colorado Supreme Court has amended the Chief Justice Directive regarding the appointments of Child and Family Investigators. To account for the changes to CJD 04-08, State Judicial has released a revised JDF 1318 form, “Order Appointing Child and Family Investigator.” Practitioners should begin using the new form immediately.

Click here to review the changes made to the form and CJD by Chief Justice Bender.

All forms are available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) and Microsoft Word formats; many are also available as Word or Excel templates. Download the new forms from State Judicial’s individual forms pages, or below.

Domestic/Family

  • JDF 1318 – “Order Appointing Child and Family Investigator” (revised 11/11)

CFI Guidelines Amended Again by the Colorado Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court has amended two Chief Justice Directives, which were adopted and effective as of November, 30 2011:

CJD 04-08 – “Directive Concerning Court Appointments of Child and Family Investigators Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-116.5”

CJD 04-05 – “Appointment and Payment Procedures for Court Appointed Counsel, Guardians ad Litem, Child and Family Investigators, and Court Visitors”

Additionally, JDF 1318 (“Order Appointing Child and Family Investigator”) was revised by State Judicial to reflect the changes.

CJD 04–08 and JDF 1318 were changed to:

  • Set forth fees for CFI testimony in conjunction with the fee cap;
  • Establish guidelines for appointment of CFIs;
  • Clarify complaint procedures;
  • Establish policy related to sanctions;
  • Eliminate referrals from a CFI for specific professionals absent such request from the parties or court;
  • Modify language concerning CFI’s authority to conduct certain types of evaluation or testing;
  • Require termination of the Order of Appointment upon the entry of the final decree or post decree orders;
  • Require a specific date be established for the submission of the CFI’s report; and
  • Address the removal of quasi-judicial immunity from the order of appointment, by stating that the CFI is acting within the authority of the court’s order so long as s/he is following a specific order of appointment to investigate and report.

CJD 04-05 was amended to be made consistent with amendments to CJD 04-08.

These amendments reflect Chief Justice Michael L. Bender’s decisions based on the second phase of work by the Supreme Court Standing Committee on Family Issues.

If you have questions concerning this directive contact Chad Edinger, Court Auxiliary Services Coordinator, at (303) 837-3605 or chad.edinger@judicial.state.co.us.

CJD 04-08 – “Directive Concerning Court Appointments of Child and Family Investigators Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-116.5”

CJD 04-08 – “Appointment and Payment Procedures for Court Appointed Counsel, Guardians ad Litem, Child and Family Investigators, and Court Visitors”

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Should Sole-Parent Decision-Making Really Be the Last Resort?

As an attorney, Child and Family Investigator, and parenting coordinator/decision-maker, I frequently find myself struggling with our parental decision-making paradigm.  Unlike parenting time, decision-making can only go three ways:  joint/shared decision-making, split decision-making, and sole decision-making.  Yet, these three options are fraught with philosophical and practical implications under the best of circumstances.  They are even more problematic where domestic violence exists in the relationship between the parents.

There is a presumption among family law practitioners that shared decision-making is the ideal.  The predominant belief is that excluding a parent from major decisions in a child’s life is tantamount to excluding a parent from the child’s life entirely.  When it come to cases regarding their children, one parent acts with the assumption that the other parent must be made an enemy in order to make themselves appear as a model parent.  Demanding sole decision-making becomes the weapon of choice, intended to punish and hurt the other parent.

Shared decision-making presumes that what is best for children is that both parents participate equally in all major decisions.  (I’ll leave a discussion of what a major decision actually is for another day, but for now let’s assume we are truly talking about major decisions regarding education, extra-curricular activities, health care, or religious upbringing.)  The reality, however, is that for most parents who are no longer living together, this is a recipe for disaster.  There are, of course, former couples that are able to maintain a civilized relationship and focus on the children, but they are not the couples that we all see in our offices on a daily basis.  Frankly, if this worked so well, we wouldn’t have a need for the roles of parenting coordinator and decision-maker.

The average person leaves a relationship angry, bitter, and convinced that his or her former partner is the worst parent imaginable.  If there is domestic violence in the relationship, shared decision-making becomes a means for the abuser to continue to exercise power and control over the victim, to manipulate the victim and the system, and to ultimately abuse the child.  This is why C.R.S. § 14-10-124(1.5)(b)(V) specifically states, albeit weakly, that shared decision-making should not be awarded in cases of domestic violence.

Split decision-making, on the surface, looks like a fine alternative in those cases where couples simply cannot make joint decisions.  Dividing the responsibility prevents the need for couples to cooperate.  This could mean that one parent makes educational and health decisions while the other makes religious and extra-curricular decisions.  Like shared decision-making, this works for some.

But, consider the myriad intersections between areas of decision-making:  school and religion (especially for those children in parochial schools); extra-curricular activities and educational activities; healthcare and religion for some; and on and on.  If someone wishes to constrain the other parent’s or the child’s choices, split decision-making is ripe for that sort of abuse.  For example, the parent with extracurricular decision-making might decide the child is to participate in weekly karate classes, while the other parent is forced to take the child to those classes across town at an inconvenient time.  It is a perfect storm for one parent to exercise power and control over the other and the child.

This leaves us with sole decision-making, which is frowned upon except in the most egregious circumstances.  As I mentioned above, taking away a parent’s decision-making authority is viewed as second-class parent status.  This is for people who have supervised visits and limited contact, right?

But should it be?

The Supreme Court has told us that parents have a constitutional right to the care for and have control of their children; so restricting that right must have a basis in substantial facts.  Must this option really be reserved for only the worst of the worst?  Isn’t it possible that it is in the children’s best interest far more often than we are willing to acknowledge?

Sole decision-making is supposed to be presumed in cases of domestic violence, for obvious reasons.  But what often happens instead is that abusers argue they are not abusive and victims equivocate to avoid the conflict and abuse, only to end up with a decision-making order that perpetuates the dynamics of the relationship and further expands the children’s role as pawns.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering these three options, and particularly their implications in cases of domestic violence.  I am left wishing for better choices that will ensure the best interests of children.  I’m left wondering if we, as attorneys, should reconsider our position on sole decision-making.  I am also left pondering how attorneys can better assess for domestic violence and better support victims.  During the month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I challenge you to give these questions some thought as well.

For those interested in exploring this topic further, there are a couple of excellent resources available:

The Civil Law Manual: Protection Orders and Family Law Cases (Rebecca Henry, Esq., ed., American Bar Association 3rd ed. 2007).  Available at: http://apps.americanbar.org/abastore/index.cfm?section=main&fm=Product.AddToCart&pid=3480008

Wallerstein, Lewis and Blakeslee, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study (Hyperion 2000).

Click here for more information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Jennifer Eyl is an Attorney and Licensed Professional Counselor who has been working with victims of sexual and domestic violence since 1994. Jennifer currently serves as a court-appointed Child and Family Investigator and Parenting Coordinator/Decision-Maker. She is co-chair of the Colorado Bar Association’s Domestic Violence and Legal Issues Committee, a member of the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Public Policy Committee and Subcommittee on Domestic Violence and Domestic Relations, and is the chair of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s Public Policy Committee.

State Judicial Issues Revised Form to Request Payment of Fees for Counsel, GAL, and CFI

The Colorado State Judicial Branch has issued a revised form regarding requests and authorization for payment of fees from the courts for counsel, Guardians ad Litem (GAL), Non-attorney Child and Family Investigators (CFI), Court Visitors, and Investigators. Practitioners should begin using the new form immediately.

All forms are available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) and Microsoft Word formats. Many are also available as Word templates; download the new form from State Judicial’s individual forms pages, or below.

General

JDF 207 – “Request and Authorization for Payment of Fees” (revised 7/11)

State Judicial Issues Revised Form Regarding the Appointments of CFIs

As we reported yesterday, the Colorado Supreme Court has amended the Chief Justice Directive regarding the appointments of Child and Family Investigators. To account for the changes to CJD 04-08, State Judicial has released a revised JDF 1318 form to be utilized by practitioners.

All forms are available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) and Microsoft Word formats. Many are also available as Word templates; download templates from State Judicial’s individual forms pages, or below.

Domestic/Family

  • JDF 1318 – “Order Appointing Child and Family Investigator” (revised 4/11)

CFI Guidelines Amended by Colorado Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court has amended a Chief Justice Directive, which was adopted and effective as of April 2011:

CJD 04-08 – “Directive Concerning Court Appointments of Child and Family Investigators Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-116.5”

Additionally, JDF 1318 (“Order Appointing Child and Family Investigator”) will be revised by State Judicial to reflect the changes.

The following changes were made to the CFI procedures:

  1. Establish a cap of $2,000.00 for the investigation and report;
  2. Require further order of the court and specific findings of extraordinary circumstances to justify fees and costs that exceed the cap;
  3. Eliminate the CFIs authority to perform psychological testing or drug and alcohol evaluations;
  4. Eliminate CFI quasi-judicial immunity in the order of appointment; and
  5. Eliminate the CFI authority to conduct a meeting with parties when a protection order restrains such contact.

The amendments reflect Chief Justice Michael L. Bender’s decisions based on various recommendations submitted by The Supreme Court Standing Committee on Family Issues.

[UPDATED] Judicial District Soliciting Applications for CFIs; Upcoming CLE Offers CFI Training

The First Judicial District is currently soliciting applications for anyone interested and qualified to be a Child and Family Investigator (CFI). CFIs are court-appointed professionals who investigate, report, and make recommendations regarding the best interests of children in domestic relations cases when the children’s parents or guardians have been unable to come to agreements themselves.

To be included in the First Judicial District’s CFI Directory, application materials must be submitted by June 1, 2011. The following forms should be used when applying:

Update: The upcoming CFI training has been postponed.

The forty hours of training in relevant areas of practice for a CFI, as required by Chief Justice Directive 04-08, can be completed at CLE’s upcoming five-day skills program, Child and Family Investigator Training, to be held May 2-4 and 9-10. The program is designed and presented by highly experienced experts who have developed a skills training event that presents both theoretical and practical information pertinent to the CFI role