When two people get divorced, dividing assets and deciding the terms of the separation can be a messy affair. When there are children involved, things become more complicated and emotions run much higher. Claims of abuse or neglect can determine which parent will retain custody of a child and under what conditions another parent can visit with their child. There are often claims of abuse or other factors that may determine a parent’s fitness; and these claims may or may not be true. In these cases, you need evidence to strengthen your case this is where Child Custody Investigations become president.
When it comes to child custody investigations, the best interests of the child are key. A private investigator can conduct a child custody investigation on your behalf to to ensure that your children are safe, and evidence that can help to establish the truth about your child’s welfare and safety in the courtroom.
Child Custody Investigations to establish the following
In order to understand the nature and purpose of child custody investigations, it’s important to understand what sorts of custody exist, and what class of custody you are seeking (or seeking to prove is not right for the child).
- Legal Custody: legal custody status gives a parent the right to make decisions regarding the child.
- Physical Custody: Having physical custody of your child means the child lives with you.
- Sole Custody: Sole custody means that the child both lives with you, and you have the right to make legal decisions regarding the child’s affairs. The other parent may have visitation rights, but has no say over the child’s affairs or where the child lives.
- Joint Legal Custody. If you have joint legal custody, both you and the child’s other parent have a say in decisions regarding the child. In the event of a major disagreement, the courts will become involved.
- Joint Physical Custody: In this case, the child splits their time between both parents’ custody.
Here are some common factors that the courts are likely to consider when determining the best interests of the child:
- The stability, health, lifestyle and schedules of each parent
- Whether prospective guardians have criminal records and/or activity
- Any evidence of child abuse or neglect
- If there are fraudulent or unfounded accusations by either parent against the other concerning abuse or neglect of the child
- Whether either parent has a history complaints of violence
- Drug and alcohol use (and abuse)
- Evidence of parenting skills
- Willingness and means to provide food, shelter, and education for the child
- The state of the home environment
- The morality and conduct of the parent
- The overall emotional and physical health of the parent
- The willingness of one parent to support a healthy and ongoing relationship between the child and the other parent
- If either parent has abducted or abandoned the child in defiance of court orders or legal process.
- Evidence of the parent’s care and affection for the child
- The financial health and standing of each parent
- Each parents’ past and current personal conduct
- The suitability and acceptability of the parent’s friends and other associates
What an Child Custody Investigations Can Find to Help Your Case
Child custody investigations can provide competent evidence to the Court that can establish what truly is in the child’s best interest. The investigation can demonstrate when placement with a parent is not in the child’s best interest, but it can also provide objective evidence to demonstrate when placement with a parent is in a child’s best interest.
If you believe that your child is being abused, neglected, or otherwise is unsafe with a parent, or if you believe that the courts would provide you with custody of your child if they had all the facts, a private investigator can help you. Without concrete evidence , child custody cases often devolve into he-said-she-said arguments in the courtroom that are unlikely to result in an outcome that is in the best interests of the child.
Here’s how a private investigator can conduct a child custody investigation and gather the evidence you need:
- Surveillance: By watching the child in the care of a parent, an investigator can determine whether they are being neglected or abused by the other parent, whether the other parent abuses drugs or alcohol (especially in the presence of the child), or whether your child istreated with affection. Overall, an investigator can testify to the overall quality of the home environment and the acceptability of a parent’s conduct.
- Witness Statements. This is some of the strongest evidence an investigator can gather to support your case. Independent witness testimony carries considerable weight, and can help establish (and independently verify) the character, conduct, and suitability of a parent to have custody of your child.
- Background Investigation. Research into a parent’s background can be invaluable in a child custody investigation. This sort of research can determine whether a parent has the means to look after the child (or the means to pay child support if a parent is delinquent), what the parent’s financial standing is, and whether the parent has a criminal record of any kind.