By Breanna Latt

In this series, the Andersen Law PC blog is spelling out the 12 steps of divorce on month at a time. The intent is to walk you through the process one simple step at a time. This month, we cover Step 6 of Divorce: Hiring a CFI, PRE, Vocational Evaluator, Real Estate Appraiser and Other Experts.

(To see the process in a more personalized, real world context, follow the blogs on the Aingel and DeVille families: the Aingels relatively soaring through the process while the DeVilles crash and burn.)

To discuss your specific situation, feel free to call us at 720-922-3880 or email We are happy to walk you through your own next steps and to answer questions in your complimentary initial phone or videoconference consult.

Here is where the next several months will take us:

1 – serving and filing a petition for dissolution

2 – responding to the petition

3 – sworn financial statement, disclosures, and parenting classes

4 – initial status conference

5 – discovery and depositions

6 – professionals: CFI, PRE, vocational evaluator, appraisals

7 – motions to compel and telephone conferences

8 – temporary orders

9 – mediation

10 – parenting plans and separation agreements

11 – witnesses, pretrial deadlines and permanent orders

12 – QDROs and other post decree issues

12 STEPS OF DIVORCE: Step 6 – Hiring a CFI, PRE, Vocational Evaluator, Real Estate Appraiser and Other Experts

Often in divorce proceedings, people hire expert witnesses who are qualified in a specific area in order to apply specialized knowledge to the case. The judge typically places a lot of value in these experts, so it is important to choose wisely. That said, these experts can be very expensive and are not always necessary. 

Read on to learn about the value of various expert witnesses and how to know if you need one.

Real Estate Appraiser

A common example is a professional real estate appraiser who would assess the value of the house in an accurate and impartial way. This appraisal will allow one partner to buy the other out of the house, or it can set a starting point for potential sales. 

real estate appraisal

Child Family Investigator and Parental Responsibilities Evaluator

Another common expert is a child family investigator (CFI). Their primary job is to make a determination about what is in the best interests of the child when the parents can’t agree on parenting time or decision making. Appointed by the court, CFIs are only necessary if the parents cannot come to an agreement about related issues. 

A parental responsibilities evaluator (PRE), may be necessary in more intense cases where psychological evaluations are needed. 

CFIs and PREs will conduct interviews and schedule observation sessions to determine in which ways parental responsibility should be divided to ensure the most positive outcome for the child(ren).

Vocational Evaluator 

In situations where one partner doesn’t have a paid job, a vocational evaluator can assess what they can potentially earn when they return to work. This type of evaluation can aid in figuring out how much spousal support will be paid to this partner and for how long. The evaluator will also provide the client with job paths that match their skills and interests. 

Forensic Accountant

In some cases, a forensic accountant may be hired to investigate assets to fairly separate properties, locate hidden assets or even to help determine spousal or child support. In complicated cases, a forensic accountant will clear up any financial messes and potentially uncover assets that make a difference in the divorce proceedings. 

In any case, it’s important to work with your attorney to figure out the best route for you.

For a free consult on your divorce case, contact Andersen Law PC at 720-922-3880. You can also check out our related blog posts, Facebook page and YouTube videos, and sign up for our monthly newsletter. All of these are chock full of information that can help you navigate divorce and other family law issues.


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