A child custody investigation is an objective observation of a child’s well-being and treatment, usually as part of a divorce, separation, or custody case.
A typical investigation involves an investigator assessing the treatment of a child by his or her parents. The conclusion of the investigator is then reported to the court and used in custody evaluations. When going through a divorce, a child custody investigation will provide reliable evidence without the bias.
Do I need a Private Investigator?
Concerned about your Child's safetyIf you believe your spouse is unfit to care for your child for any reason, a private investigator can potentially prove your allegations with objective, legal evidence. In a divorce case, where tensions are high and accusations are made, hard evidence may be necessary to protect a child from an unhealthy environment. Ultimately, an investigator will work with you to keep your child away from an abusive situation.
Peace of mindIf you are unsure if your spouse is fit to care for your child, an investigator can legally look into their background, habits, and parenting style in order to prove or disprove their ability to meet your child’s needs. Reliable evidence will not only stand up in court, but will provide you the comfort of knowing your child is safe.
Falsely accused of Abuse or NeglectEspecially in court divorce cases, one parent will sometimes make false accusations in order to limit the other parent’s access to their child. A private investigator can gather evidence of proper conduct and ensure you adequate time with your child.
3 Examples of when to hire a Private Investigator
in a Child Support Case
AlcoholIn most cases we are asked to look into things that do have a great deal of importance on a family law case, such as verifying compliance with court orders. In one case, the court order stated that the parent was not to consume alcohol during the children’s visitation periods. However, the custodial parent suspected that, during those visitation periods, the other parent was consuming alcohol in violation of the court order. This was not difficult to verify as investigators were able to document the subject make a stop at a local convenience store and purchase two 12 packs of beer after picking up two small children for the weekend. Later, the subject was documented drinking from what appeared to be beer bottles of the same brand purchased earlier while sitting in the garage with the children playing in the drive-way. This, along with other evidence presented by the family lawyer, was enough to convince the court to order supervised visitation.
At RiskIn another case, we were asked to investigate a mother who was suspected of leaving two small children at home alone while she went out at night. This was found to indeed be the case and the court was able to take steps to ensure the safety of the children. In similar cases where drug dealing was alleged, investigators have documented what could be considered unusually high volumes of traffic in and out of a residence at late hours of the night while children are visiting for the weekend.
Unreported IncomeIn child support cases, we have been able to verify unreported income of individuals working side jobs or under the table. In one of my earliest cases, we were asked to investigate a young woman who had filed for an increase in child support claiming she had no income. The father of the children suspected this was not the case and hired our company to look into the matter. After some field work, we were able to determine the young woman was in fact working as a dancer at a popular gentlemen’s club. Using covert video we were able to document the young woman dancing on stage and picking up what appeared to be large amounts of cash following each of several dances a night on several consecutive nights. For obvious reasons, this case did not go well for the young woman. We have also been able to locate undisclosed assets in divorce cases that otherwise would have never been includedMany family law attorneys see the need for the services of a private investigator and the value provided by the evidence they uncover during their investigations.
Child Support Investigation
WHEN IS SURVEILLANCE USED
After an investigator reports their findings, the court will decide the custody of the child. Based on the results of the investigation, there are a couple types of custody that the parents could receive:
Legal Custody: Parents with legal custody have the ability to make legal decisions regarding the child.
Physical Custody: This kind of custody determines with which parent the child lives.
Sole Custody: Having sole custody means one parent has both physical and legal custody of the child. The other parent may have visitation rights but cannot make decisions involving the child.
Joint Legal Custody With joint custody both parents have a voice in decisions surrounding the child. In the event of a major dispute, the issue will be settled in court.
Joint Physical Custody: Joint physical custody means the child splits their time and lives with both parents.
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