Print Version
Previous PageFile uploaded: 10/31/2014

Rule 4-902. Limited scope investigation of domestic issues.


To establish guidelines for referring select issues forinvestigation and report.

To give the court discretion to control the issues referredfor investigation, the methods of gathering information relevant to the issues,and timely completion of the report consistent with the nature of the issuesand the methods of information gathering.


This rule shall apply to family law cases in the districtcourt.

Statement of the Rule:

(1) On motion or stipulation of the parties or on its owninitiative, the court may refer select issues for investigation and report. Investigationsand reports shall be performed by persons with the minimum qualificationsrequired for a custody evaluation under Rule 4-903.

(2) The purpose of the investigation is to report to thecourt observations about the issues referred. The report shall not contain theinvestigator?s recommendations, nor may the investigator testify aboutrecommendations.

(3) Every motion or stipulation for an investigation andreport shall include:

(3)(A) the name, address, and telephone number of each personnominated or agreed upon to conduct the investigation;

(3)(B) the anticipated dates of commencement of theinvestigation and completion of the report and the estimated cost;

(3)(C) the issues to be addressed in the report;

(3)(D) the methods of information gathering, which mayinclude:

(3)(D)(i) review records from a variety of sources, (forexample, court records, school records, healthcare records, childcare recordsand records from agencies and other institutions);

(3)(D)(ii) clinical observations;

(3)(D)(iii) observation of the child?s current and proposedhome;

(3)(D)(iv) interview parents, children, members of theextended family, friends and other collateral sources;

(3)(D)(v) psychological testing;

(3)(D)(vi) other information gathering methods; and

(3)(E) the name, address, and telephone number of each personthe investigator should interview or observe.

(4) Every order for an investigation shall:

(4)(A) require the parties to cooperate as requested by theinvestigator;

(4)(B) restrict disclosure of the report except to theparties and to the court;

(4)(C) assign responsibility for payment;

(4)(D) specify dates for commencement of the investigation andcompletion of the report;

(4)(E) specify the issues referred, which may include thosedescribed in Rule 4-903;

(4)(F) specify the methods ofinformation gathering, which may include those described in paragraph (3);

(4)(G) require the investigator to filethe report with the court and serve it on counsel or parties within 7 daysafter the report is completed;

(4)(H) if the investigation orreport is terminated, require the investigator to notify the court and counsel orparties of the reason within seven days after termination; and

(4)(I) require counsel or parties to schedule a settlementconference with the court and the investigator within 45 days after receivingthe report.

(5) If it is the investigator?s professional judgment thatthe scope of the investigation should be widened, the investigator shall seekthe approval of the court before going beyond the court order.

(6) If the investigator does not possess the training orexperience necessary for the issue referred, the investigator shall notify thecourt and counsel or parties.

(7) If psychological tests are administered, they shall beconducted by a licensed psychologist who is trained in the use of the tests andwho adheres to the ethical standards for the use and interpretation ofpsychological tests in the jurisdiction in which he or she is licensed topractice.