14-09-06.3. Custody investigations and reports--Costs
1. In contested proceedings dealing with parental rights and responsibilities the court, upon the request of either party, or, upon its own motion, may appoint a parenting investigator and order an investigation and report concerning parenting rights and responsibilities regarding the child. The supreme court shall adopt rules establishing the minimum qualifications of a parenting investigator and maintain and make available to the public a roster of individuals eligible to serve as a parenting investigator. The roster must include each individual’s name, address, and telephone number. The parenting investigator appointed must be on the public roster of those eligible to serve as a parenting investigator.
2. The investigator may consult any person who may have information about the child and any potential arrangements for parenting rights and responsibilities, and upon order of the court may refer the child to any professional personnel for diagnosis.
3. The parenting investigator shall file the investigator’s report with the court and serve the report on counsel and any party not represented by counsel at least thirty days before the hearing. The investigator shall make available to any such counsel or party the complete file of data and reports underlying the investigator’s report and the names and addresses of all persons whom the investigator has consulted. A party may call the investigator and any person whom the investigator has consulted for cross-examination at the hearing. A party may not waive the party’s right of cross-examination before the hearing.
4. If the parties are indigent, the court shall enter an order stating the expenses of any such investigation must be borne by the county where the child resided at the time the action was commenced or if a modification of parental rights and responsibilities, at the time the motion to modify is served.
5. Following the decision by the court regarding parenting rights and responsibilities, the parenting investigator must be discharged of the investigator’s duties as investigator.
6. A parenting investigator appointed under this section who acts in good faith in making a report to the court is immune from any civil liability resulting from the report. For the purpose of determining good faith, the good faith of the parenting investigator is a disputable presumption.