Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Divorce and Child Custody Investigations - Private Investigators focused on the safety of children


How can a private investigator help keep my child safe during divorce or child custody dispute?

All too common in today’s headlines are stories involving children who have been abused. While we worry about our children’s safety around strangers, we sometimes fail to take the proper precautions to keep children safe in their own environments. Private investigators specializing in child custody investigations work directly with an attorney to generate a formative case for impeachment. Child custody investigators are trained to investigate and detect child abuse, neglect, substance and alcohol abuse, and other behaviors that may endanger a child. The information gathered by a qualified child custody private investigator about a custodial or non-custodial parent during a legal custody investigation, can uncover behavior that places a child at risk of harm, while also documenting the incidents of concern. This is a critical step in ensuring the information gathered during the child custody investigation can be presented in court if necessary. During cases of separation and divorce, no cutting corners when considering the safety of a child, and a qualified private investigator can literally save a child’s life.
Courtesy of  Throughmyeyes


Why is it important to utilize a private investigator specializing in child custody investigations?
Any separation or divorce is an emotional time during one’s life. At times, the situation can become volatile. While a parent’s first priority should be the child’s safety and emotional stability, it is not uncommon for parents to make false allegations to restrict the other parent’s access to the child. Unfortunately, children commonly become the pawns during a divorce and child custody case. Utilizing a private investigator specializing in custodial investigations can reduce incidents of false accusations, substantiate legitimate allegations, and ensure the child’s well-being is first priority.
Ideally, a qualified and licensed private investigator is hired to conduct the child custody investigation and work directly with an attorney during the pre-filing phase. The private investigator and the attorney handling the casework together to ensure all concerns are addressed prior to filing the case in court. This also ensures as much information as possible is presented to the court during the initial phase of the child custody case.


What happens during a child custody investigation?

A child custody investigator can document critical information during exchanges and visitations to chronicle how the child is treated while in the care of the other parent. Gathering evidence supporting mistreatment or neglect of a child during a legal custody investigation can entail interviewing the other parent, questioning witnesses, and conducting background checks on all parties involved in the child’s care. In addition, an experienced private investigator will conduct an on-site assessment of the child’s home can determine if the child is being cared for in a suitable environment by evaluating the cleanliness of the home and those who reside in, or frequently visit the home.

Also very common is utilizing video surveillance to document the parent’s behavior while the child is in their care, documenting those the parent associates with and who the parent may be exposing the child to, if the parent is participating in an illegal of reckless behavior, and any incidents of abuse such as keeping record of any bruises or injuries. Hiring a licensed child custody investigator ensures the investigation is conducted legally and the quality of evidence gathered can be used in a court of law. If required, the investigator will also provide expert court testimony.


Should I hire a child custody private investigator and what should I be doing?

  • In court, judges commonly hear accusations from both sides. At times it becomes very difficult to determine who may be telling the truth and if concerns are warranted. Evidence presented in court by a licensed private investigator provides documented proof of allegations the court must take into consideration when making a ruling in a child custody case. It is especially important to present an accurate representation of a person’s character during any court case and even more important when children’s lives are impacted.


  • If you suspect the other parent may be abusing your child emotionally or physically while in their care, it is important to substantiate those concerns. While hiring an investigator can guide and assist you, keeping a journal of any negative events, comments your child makes that are of concern, comments or threats the other parent makes to you, are helpful. Especially important, document any injuries the child has sustained in the care of the other parent by keeping written record and photographs of the injuries. Also, record any medical treatment received by a medical professional.


  • If you suspect the other parent may be drinking excessively or involved in substance abuse while caring for the child, a private investigator can document the other parent’s actions by observing their daily activities, document those who come and go at the residence, and detect drug and alcohol abuse. 


  • If you suspect the other parent is neglectful, participating in any kind of criminal behavior, or associating with individuals who may have a criminal background, it is best to have a private investigator perform a comprehensive background check on the other parent, anyone that resides with the parent or has interaction with your child. It is important to keep in mind, most incidents of child abuse and child death, occur within the home of a child and injuries inflicted by those trusted to care for the child. 

 
  • If you are not certain who the other parent is associating with, a private investigator can conduct surveillance to document who is coming and going at the home, even documenting license plates to determine the identity of individuals permitted to be in close proximity or care for your child. 


  • If you are concerned about how a child custody investigation may affect your child, it is important to know professional private investigators are highly trained in child custody investigations to utilize investigative methods that minimize exposure of the child to the investigation. In fact, most investigations can be conducted without the child ever knowing, as the investigator is there to protect the child and serve in their best interest.

When children’s safety is in question, it is always best to be safe than sorry. If no questionable behavior is uncovered, everyone can feel secure knowing the child is in safe hands with two loving and responsible parents.

About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym is an expert in the field of missing persons and continues to advocate for crime victims utilizing 20 years’ experience working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media.