When divorcing parents are unable to agree on major decisions regarding their children, including the time their children will spend with each parent after the parents separate, they and their attorney might request from the court, or the court might separately determine, that a Parental Responsibility Evaluation (PRE) is needed. Typically, parents in these cases are in a high-conflict situation. Regardless of where the idea originates, a court order is required for a PRE to be initiated.
The court will appoint a licensed mental health professional with relevant specialized training to conduct a family evaluation that includes psychological testing and several interviews with family members and professionals who know the family and to write an in-depth report that is shared with the court, the parents, and their attorneys. The focus of all PREs is the “Best Interests of the Child/Children,” as noted in C.R.S. 14-10-124. On average, a PRE takes 50-70 hours of the evaluator’s time to complete (including writing the report) over a 90-120-day period.