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 order an investigation and report concerning parenting rights and responsibilities regarding the child. The court shall designate a person or agency responsible for making the investigation and report, which designees may include the human service zone, public health officer, school officials, and any other public agency or private practitioner the court deems qualified to make the investigation.
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 court shall mail the investigator’s report to counsel and to 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. The court shall enter an order for the costs of any such investigation against either or both parties, except that if the parties are indigent the expenses must be borne by the human service zone 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.