What does a child custody investigator look for?

By February 11, 2020Child Custody

what does a child custody investigator look for?


Unfortunately, with the high rates of divorce in our country, many couples end up in divorce court. The main issues that they face involve their children and money.

What does a child custody investigator look for?

A custody investigation’s primary goal is to document negative behaviors.

This could include:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drinking and driving
  • Drug or substance abuse
  • Criminal activity

Other negative behaviors to be concerned about:

  • Do they leave the child in the custody of other people such as family, friends, a babysitter, or a nanny?
  • If there’s an excessive amount of time that the child is being left without the parent, that should be watching them.
  • Is the child around somebody they shouldn’t be with?
  • Are there any safety concerns for the child?
  • Is there any verbal abuse, physical abuse or anything negative that will impact the child?

Any overall bad decision making. The bottom line – is the parent making decisions that aren’t in the best interest or the well being or safety of a child?

When we conduct surveillance in a child custody investigation, we might have a specific behavior or situation that we’re looking for. But you never know what kind of useful information or evidence we will obtain during this period of surveillance.

I was recently hired by a woman who claimed that the father of her child was an excessive marijuana smoker. We had to conduct an investigation and put the subject under surveillance, and we did in fact document that he was smoking marijuana.

In addition to that evidence, any time he was out in public with the child—out in a park or a store walking around or a restaurant—he would leave this five-year-old child alone while he went to the restroom. Sometimes for up to 5, 6, 7 minutes. Many disastrous things could happen to a five-year-old child in one minute. Kidnapping takes no effort.

There are three things that win almost every court case, especially custody cases.

1. Legally obtained evidence that supports your allegation.

If you’re claiming that the parent is involved in negative behaviors such as drinking & driving, drugs, or criminal activity, whatever it may be – having legally obtained evidence that supports this clearly, factually (and documented properly) now becomes evidence. That’s what courts weigh. They don’t want to hear, “he said/she said”. They want evidence. You have a report, video, photos. This is what the court’s going to take into account.

2. Establishing you are credible and destroying the credibility of the other side

Credibility is an important factor in court. Any time the other side looks less credible to the court that makes you look more credible.

3. Getting the judge on your side (usually 1 & 2 = 3)

Number one (evidence) and two (credibility) can equal number three. Once you have a judge on your side, it can result in having a more favorable outcome for your case.

It’s not only investigating the parent when they have the child. It’s just as important to run surveillance when they don’t have the child. What are their activities? What are they involved with? Who are they involved with? Sometimes people are doing more nefarious or negative things when no one’s around.

Some people will be doing it when they’re with the child or without. You want to cover all your bases during a custody investigation. Children are the most precious things in our lives. We would do anything for them.

If you for a moment believe your child is involved in a dangerous and unsafe situation or is involved with an unfit parent, call us immediately to have this investigated

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