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,
parenting investigators 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
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 investigations.
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 pressure.
Reports, correspondence, and other documents prepared by
should always reflect the highest quality work.
Truthfulness of Information
custody parenting investigator shall not knowingly give false,
misleading, or 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
confidentiality and 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
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 cases in which
there is a
conflict of interest. If in the course of providing custody parenting
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 investigator may 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
judicial officer, 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 withdraw
services 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
August 1, 2009.]