Child Custody Investigation
Facing a child custody case is one of the most unnerving situations any parent can face, particularly because there’s no way to know for certain how the judge will decide. Even if you think you have a strong case, your ex-spouse may end up with custody of your children. This possibility strikes enough fear in some people that they hire a child custody investigator on an impulse. However, before you do consider this as an alternative, it’s important to understand what this type of investigator does.
Have a Reason for an Investigation
If you’re just hoping that an investigation will turn up evidence against your former spouse, you’re probably wasting your money. In most cases, a parent who seems responsible and reliable usually isn’t hiding anything insidious. You can pay an investigator to look into the individual’s background, associations, and activities, but it’s rare that something will turn up.
On the other hand, you may have strong suspicions that something is amiss. Perhaps your child seems concerned about spending time with that parent, or you’re unsure of your ex-spouse’s new love interest. In cases where you have these kinds of suspicions, hiring an investigator to either verify or disprove them may be a good move. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if you have a good reason to hire an investigator.
One of the most common reasons for a child custody investigation is to determine how the other parent is spending time with the child. You may be concerned that your ex-spouse is hiring a babysitter to look after your child during his or her visitations. This may indicate a lack of commitment, even though the parent is pursuing custody. Alternatively, the individual may be experiencing a substance abuse problem, or they may be endangering your child in other ways. An investigator can uncover these situations and gather evidence of these activities.
Conducting Background Checks
Another service that private investigators perform in child custody cases is conducting background checks. While this can include the parent, it more often involves looking into the backgrounds of people associating with the parent. Often, these people will be around your child, so it’s important to ensure they’re reputable people. Some of the things that a background check will look into include:
- Work history
- Social contacts
- Insolvency Issues
- Criminal history
Background checks can be used to support a parent’s position as well as to find fault with a parent. The investigator will gather the information, but it will be up to you, or your attorney, to determine how to use the information. Searches can be conducted using online resources, but, in many cases, the investigator may also contact government offices and businesses directly. Sometimes a phone call is the best way to find out important information.
Interviewing Adults in a Child’s Life
Another service that a child custody investigator may provide is interviewing other adults who may be present in the child’s life. Some lawyers will hire private investigators to help them with these types of interviews, or you may hire an investigator for this purpose, yourself. These types of interviews can help create a broader picture of the child’s life, as well as helping to uncover how the child feels about each parent.
When a judge must determine child custody, his primary goal is to act in the child’s best interests. He will also try to keep each parent involved in the child’s life as much as possible, but the child’s upbringing is the overriding concern. This makes the child’s personal feelings important. While the judge may ask the child how he or she feels about each parent, children can feel pressured in these situations. By interviewing other adults in the child’s life, it may be possible to uncover more honest feelings.
Some of the people who may be interviewed in a child custody investigation are:
- Parents of the child’s friends
- Friends of the parents
- Other adults with whom the child regularly interacts
Is it Time to Hire an Investigator?
After reviewing this overview of what’s involved in a custody investigation, you may still feel as though you’re ready to take this step. Proceed with care and take the time to hire the right investigator for your case. Your goal is to help your child custody case, so make sure you hire the right professional for handling your needs. An investigation should provide you with the evidence you need to build the strongest case possible, so you can bring your child home.
If you are ready to consult a private investigator, contact our offices for an initial consultation. The professional staff at Chilton Gibbs & Associates can help you arrange a meeting to discuss your case. This first meeting will help you learn more about how we can help your child custody case. We’ll also discuss our fees with you and answer any other questions you may have. Contact us at to set up a consultation.