APPENDIX. CODE OF CONDUCT FOR
This Code outlines goals that
custody parenting investigators
must aggressively and
actively strive to achieve. It is not intended, however, to serve as a detailed investigative
handbook, with specific statutory or other legal requirements. This Code of Conduct
establishes principles of professional conduct and ethics aimed to ensure the proper
performance of custody parenting investigators in North Dakota.
Nothing in this Code
absolves custody parenting investigators from the obligation to
comply with requirements
of the law or other rules of professional conduct that may apply to that individual.
When providing investigative services to the court,
should act with care, reliability, and diligence. In phone calls, meetings, interviews, and
other exchanges related to the investigation, custody parenting
investigators should act in
good faith and in a respectful and professional manner. All activities must be performed
in a timely manner.
custody parenting investigator shall complete all necessary
according to Rule 8.6 of the North Dakota Rules of Court, including engaging in
continuing education to further knowledge of custody parenting
custody parenting investigator shall provide competent
assistance to the court. This
competence implies the legal knowledge and professional skills reasonably necessary to
provide investigative services.
custody parenting investigator shall preserve professional
independence in the
discharge of the investigator's duties. An investigator should act in accordance with the
law, free from all other influence, rendering investigative services based upon the
investigator's best knowledge. An investigator should avoid any impairment of
independence and must not permit professional standards to be compromised by external
Reports, correspondence, and other documents prepared by
investigators should always reflect the highest quality work.
Truthfulness of Information
custody parenting investigator shall not knowingly give false,
inconsistent information. An investigator shall not try to influence the court directly or
indirectly by any ways and means contradictory to the law or this Code.
When providing investigative services, a
investigator shall adhere to
the facts. Facts should be presented in as neutral and clear a manner as possible. The
facts should speak for themselves, and conclusions and analysis should not involve
exaggeration, adjectival assistance, or other editorial overemphasis.
Any and all actions must not be based on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth, political opinion, nationality, country of origin, or any other similar criteria.
Confidentiality and record maintenance are obligations of the
investigator. All custody parenting investigators shall maintain
protect against unauthorized disclosure and usage of information acquired in connection
with the investigation. Confidentiality is required for all forms of transmission: verbal,
written, digital, manual or hardcopy records, videos, and pictures, etc.
Conflicts of Interest
A conflict of interest arises when a
investigator has competing,
incompatible duties or when there is a conflict between a custody parenting
private interests and the investigator's professional responsibilities. A custody
investigator must exercise independence, act with loyalty, and preserve the
confidentiality of the case as necessary. The custody investigator should avoid
which there is a conflict of interest. If in the course of providing custody
investigation services a conflict of interest arises, the custody
parenting investigator is
obligated to inform the parties and the court about the present conflict and the nature and
extent of the conflict. After full disclosure, the custody parenting
continue to investigate the matter with the express written consent of the parties only if
this will not lead to an unjustified compromise of the parties' interests or to a violation of
other provisions of this Code.
Communications with Judicial Officer
custody parenting investigator shall not communicate with a
without notice to all parties, concerning a case for which the person is serving as an
investigator except that the investigator may communicate with a judicial officer about
such matters as scheduling, emergencies, or purely administrative matters that do not deal
with substantive matters or issues involved in the case.
Withdrawal of Services
custody parenting investigator shall not withdraw services
unless there is good
cause. Good cause may include conflict of interest or inability to provide a competent,
professional investigation. If the custody parenting investigator must
for good cause, the investigator should try to do so in such a manner that neither the
parties' interests nor the best interests of the child are adversely affected.
custody parenting investigator shall charge a reasonable fee
for the investigator's
services commensurate with experience and ability. The investigator shall provide an
accounting for time on each investigation and shall make fees known to the parties in
advance of the investigation.
[Adopted effective March 1, 2007; amended effective