Child custody and support are often the most disputed areas as they affect both emotions and money. Unfortunately, children are often used as bargaining chips. Parents’ responsibility to manage their children’s growth and development continues even though the marriage ends.
Do you need a child custody private investigator?
The court will make child custody decisions based on what is in the “best interest” of the child if the parents can’t come to an agreement. This aspect can be the most complicated and controversial part of the case. There are many factors the court will consider when making a decision. There are numerous factors that help determine if you have a child custody investigation. When we conduct our child custody investigations, our investigators can help you with the following:
When attempting to prove neglect, abuse, or to obtain visitation rights for our clients, our investigators consider:
- Evidence of child abuse or neglect. Any unfounded accusations of abuse by a parent about the other parent
- Does the parent associate with anyone the child should not be around?
- Stability, lifestyle, health and schedules of the parents
- The care and affection shown to the child by the parents
- Domestic violence or other complaints against a parent
- Abduction or abandonment of the child or other defiance of legal process by one of the parents
- The parents past and current conduct
- Evidence of Alcohol or drug abuse of a parent
- The atmospheres in the homes
- The financial standing of the parents
- The home environment of the parents
- Ability to provide food, shelter, and education for the child
- Criminal Records, involvement in criminal activity past or present or association of any criminal element
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is Custody?
There are two parts to custody. One is the right and responsibility to make decisions for a child (legal custody). The other is where a child will live (residential or physical custody).
How Old Does A Child Have To Be Before A Court Can't Make Orders About The Child's Custody And Visitation?
What Is The Difference Between Joint Custody And Sole Custody?
In joint custody, the parents make major decisions about the child together – decisions about education, health, and religion, for example. The smaller, day-to-day decisions in joint custody are made by the parent who is physically caring for the child at the time. In sole custody, just one parent has the right to make the major decisions.
In Awarding Custody, Do New York Courts Favor Mothers More Than Fathers Or Fathers More Than Mothers?
No. Today’s courts do not favor either parent more than the other. The law says a custody award is based on what’s best for the child.
I'm A Relative Who Wants Legal Custody. What Happens In Those Cases?
The law says grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives who want legal custody have to show the court that the parents are not fit to care for the child – for example, that the parents have abandoned, neglected, or abused the child or that there are other extraordinary issues about the parents’ care. If the court agrees about these things, the court can then consider whether it would be best for the child for the relative to have legal custody instead of one or both of the parents.
What Do Courts Think About When They Decide What's Best For A Child?
Many things, including:
- which parent has been the main care giver/nurturer of the child
- the parenting skills of each parent, their strengths and weaknesses and their ability to provide for the child’s special needs, if any
- the mental and physical health of the parents
- whether there has been domestic violence in the family
- work schedules and child care plans of each parent
- the child’s relationships with brothers, sisters, and members of the rest of the family
- what the child wants, depending on the age of the child
- each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other parent and to encourage a relationship with the other parent, when it is safe to do so
How Does Domestic Violence Affect A Custody Decision?
Domestic violence against either a parent or a child is considered in deciding custody. Even where the violence was not committed in a child’s presence, it can still affect the child and will be considered. Domestic violence may be one act or it can be a pattern of acts. It can be physical, sexual, economic, emotional, or mental abuse.
If One Parent Has Sole Custody, Can The Other Parent See The Child?
The courts generally want children to have a relationship with both parents. In most cases they will let the parent who doesn’t have custody have visits with the child unless there is cause for a parent not to have custody.
What Kind Of Visits?
Visits can be unsupervised, supervised, or therapeutically supervised, and may also involve a safe place of exchange or a monitored exchange, including:
- Supervised Visits: A parent can’t be alone with the child. The court will choose someone to supervise the visits if there are serious concerns about a parent’s ability to act properly with the child or where there has been domestic violence.
- Therapeutic Supervised Visits: A mental health professional supervises the visits and can try during the visits to improve the parenting skills of the parent.
- Neutral Place of Exchange: A safe location where a child goes from one parent to the other for visitation. Examples: a police station, school, library, or mall.
- Monitored Transition: A third person is present when the child goes from one parent to the other for visitation. The reason for this is to make sure of the child’s safety and a calm situation for the child.
What Is A Law Guardian?
A Law Guardian is an attorney chosen by the court to be the child’s lawyer during a custody/visitation case.
What Is A Forensic Evaluator?
A Forensic Evaluator is a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker chosen by the court. The evaluator gives information about the family in a custody/visitation case. The evaluator will talk to the family members and other mental health professionals who have worked with the family, and can give psychological tests. The evaluator will send a report to the court and can be a witness in the case.
I Want To Have A Court Custody Or Visitation Order Changed. How Do I Do This?
You start a case to “modify” the order. Talk to a clerk in the court where the order was made. Custody and visitation orders may be changed if the court decides that things have changed and that modifying the original order would be best for the child.
Do I Need A Lawyer For A Family Court Custody Or Visitation Case?
Only you can decide this for your case. You have the right to hire a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer, the court can appoint one for you free of charge if the court decides that you qualify for this.
Is Your Child Affected By Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?
PAS Is a “cluster of symptoms” present in children who, during the process of a child-custody dispute, reject one parent as a direct result of strong, negative claims introduced by the other parent. In addition, in cases of PAS, the negative propaganda that is being introduced to the child by the alienating parent is not substantiated by the alienated parent’s behavior prior to the dispute. In many PAS cases, the child enjoyed a warm, vibrant relationship with the alienated parent prior to his or her parent’s divorce. Another notable distinction in true PAS cases is the idea that the child so strongly adopts the alienating parent’s point of view that he or she begins to vilify the alienated parent independent of the alienating parent. PAS Should be Considered When a Child Consistently, and Without Reason:
- Denigrates, belittles, shuns, or disparages the parent in question
- Appears unable to distinguish lies from the truth in regards to the parent
- Unjustly hates the parent
- Defames the parent with invented stories and lies
- Uses inappropriate language to deride the parent in public
- Views the parent as singularly bad; sees nothing good in the parent in question
- Shows extreme resistance to seeing or maintaining contact with the parent
What Are Some Negative Behaviors Associated With Child Abusers?
There are numerous negative behaviors which may be precursors to child abuse, including:
- Abusers will attempt to use intimidation tactics to instill fear through the use of property destruction, yelling, deceit, violence (towards others and pets), making religious and non-religious threats.
- Child abusers will often threaten punishment by God, police, foster home, name calling, shaming children, inconsistent parenting, etc.
- Child abusers will withhold money, child support, or basic needs to try to control a situation,
- This includes inconsistent parenting, using a child as a pawn in a divorce, threats of abandonment (physical harm or confinement), treating a child as a servant, punishing, bossing others around, or constantly interrupting, and even isolating individulas from their peers, siblings, and grandparents.