What is a child custody investigation?
Child custody refers to the legal rights of who has the legal responsibility to raise a child. It is dependent on factors such as the parents’ marriage, where they live, and whether either parent is deemed unfit or unable to raise the child. In most cases, custody will be awarded based on what a court or judge deems best for the child and his or her future. Often, a private investigator is involved in the decision due to evidence the private investigator has gathered for one of the parties.
In many modern western countries, parents are encouraged to share responsibilities in raising children through joint custody arrangements – both parents have an active role in raising their children together and splitting up their time evenly between themselves. But, parents don’t always see eye to eye in these matters. It’s not unusual for a custody battle to end up as a bitter fight between two adults and it’s when this happens one of the parties is likely to call on a private investigator for assistance.
How can a PI assist a child custody investigation?
A PI, or private investigator, who specializes in family law investigations will routinely work on child custody investigations and gather evidence to support one side or the other. Usually, one side accuses the other of one of the following:
- Alcohol Exposure
- Narcotics Exposure
The party hiring the private investigator may suspect any or all of the above-listed things are happening to their children. This agency once worked on a child custody case where the mother was known to wrap her child up with duct tape to stop the child from asking questions. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.
In order to determine how a private investigator can help with a child custody investigation case, we will examine each item on the list above and expand on where and how a private investigator can help.
- Neglect – Often, a parent fights tooth and nail to get custody of a child but their only intent is to get back at their ex. They don’t actually WANT to spend more time with the child/children. In these cases, the guilty party will often leave the children with the grandparents while they go off and do their own thing. A private investigator can document this by obtaining video evidence and observing the activities of the parent while they have custody.
- Abuse – when a parent reluctantly has to take care of a child sometimes they let their anger get the better of them. They might spank the children or shout at them to make them feel uncomfortable. While this type of behavior usually happens behind closed doors it can also happen outside, or at a store, or in a parking lot. If a private investigator has been hired as part of a child custody investigation they can document this bad behavior using video evidence which then can be replayed in court.
- Abandonment – when a parent leaves a child to play outside for extended periods of time or lets the child wander off in public places it’s often because they are absorbed in their own world and have forgotten they have the responsibility of a child. In today’s world, a child can be snapped up literally in seconds by a nefarious person. The private investigator who is working on the child custody investigation can document these activities and watch out for the child to make sure the child is safe.
- Malnutrition – a private investigator working on a child custody investigation can monitor the eating habits of the children in a couple of ways. They can see what kind of restaurants the parent brings the child to and videotape them eating food that might not be healthy. Often, one parent disregards allergies the child might have and exposes the child to restaurants or food that would aggravate their allergy. Another way a private investigator can document the children’s eating habits is to retrieve the trash from the residence. The trash is a treasure trove of information about what food and types of food are being consumed in the household.
- Alcohol Exposure – if one parent is a heavy drinker and they drink alcohol while they have custody of their children, a private investigator working on a child custody investigation can document this. The parent with custody will sometimes bring their child to a bar and the private investigator can document this activity and present it as evidence in court. The trash from the residence can also reveal empty beer and liquor bottles and these can be obtained as evidence to help in a child custody investigation.
- Narcotics Exposure – if the child is being exposed to narcotics a private investigator can document this in a number of ways. One, they can videotape interactions of the parent with people in parking lots and if the interaction seems “shady” then video evidence of it will assist in the child custody investigation. If the parent has the children with them while they conduct these transactions then video evidence of that is very useful in a child custody investigation. And once again, the trash can reveal all sorts of evidence in a child custody investigation such as “joints”, pill bottles, burnt tin foil, glass tubes with residue, and other signs of narcotics abuse. The private investigator will have connections to certified laboratories that can test these items to determine the types of narcotics involved. The private investigator will also have connections to DNA testing labs that can extract the DNA from these items and from there it can be determined who used the items. This can be very important evidence for a child custody investigation.
So, a private investigator can be vital when it comes to gathering evidence in a child custody investigation and the private investigator can testify in court on behalf of the party seeking to limit the custody of the other parent. Using a private investigator is entirely legal and you should first consult with your attorney before you hire a private investigator. The attorney can guide you and the private investigator in what evidence is the most valuable to you in your child custody investigation.
If you are looking for an affordable licensed private investigator, with 20 years of experience assisting individuals, attorneys and corporations feel free to contact us here. You can also view a portion of our extensive client list here, and see what actual clients say about Eagle Investigative Services a private investigator in Atlanta, Georgia.