Leveraging Private Investigators for Child Custody Cases
Lawyers don’t like to talk about divorce, but divorce can be big business. Separating the assets of two adults might seem important, but once children become involved, the stakes are raised. Even with the help of a judge, parenting plans and custody agreements are never easy to decide. In contrast, they are very easy to break. If a parent thinks the other parent is violating a custody agreement, obtaining proof might be difficult. Luckily, a private investigator knows how to find proof that can help your client’s case in court. Don’t forget when you working with a private investigator, to make sure they have had professional training and are licensed. If they have done the professional training, they should be better equipped to get you the evidence you need.
Many amicable divorces result in parenting plans. Rather than fight about the details of custody with a judge, some parents find it easier to come to their own agreement. Most of the details of these plans revolve around which parent has custody of a child on certain dates. In these cases, the presence, or lack of presence, of a child can be the easiest way to prove a violation. But sometimes the minute details, the items often overlooked in a parenting plan, can be violated as well. Of course, proving such violations never comes easy. In order to prove that one parent is not following all the rules of an agreement, a private investigator who can obtain video proof is essential for upcoming hearings. Social Media Investigations are helpful in obtaining information.
I once worked a case in which both parents agreed upon a parenting plan, and included in this plan was the stipulation that their child be raised as a Catholic. One day, the child started telling stories about a new church. The father grew suspicious that the newly-remarried mother was trying to convert the child to a new religion, but the word of his small child wasn’t enough to present to a judge. The father called us and we obtained surveillance of the child attending a new church, thus proving the mother to be in violation of the plan. The child’s word sparked the case, but surveillance proved the father’s point. Without a private investigator, he may have found himself in limbo, knowing a violation occurred but not knowing how to prove it.
Proving Bad Behavior
Whether a client negotiates a parenting plan or a judge issues a custody agreement, hearing rumors from the children may not be enough to prove malicious behavior by one parent. Obtaining proof of poor parenting typically involves procuring evidence to bring before a judge.
I worked a case in which both parents agreed to a parenting plan to save them from the hassle of family court. However, over the next several years, our client heard of misbehavior by the children’s father – not outright abuse that looked obvious, but strange tales that made the client feel something may be amiss. She finally decided to turn to us for help when she heard that, after an outing at the grocery store, one child fell out of the car while the father turned a corner. The child wasn’t restrained in his car seat and the door was left unlocked. Prior to asking a judge for custody, our client needed to prove the rumors she’d heard.
During surveillance, we noticed a trend of odd behavior by the subject. The children were never maliciously injured, but they were often put into harmful situations. At one point, our surveillance investigator filmed one child shooting the other with a BB gun. For our client, rumors turned to evidence and he had the necessary ammunition to go to a judge. It can be tough for a client to imagine that poor parenting might put a child in harm’s way, but if rumors start to build, it’s best to hire an investigator to try to find proof. Ultimately, the safety of the child is the most important aspect in any custody dispute. If that safety is risked, proof may help a parent modify a custody agreement for the sake of a child’s wellbeing.
The gravest and rarest violations of custody agreements involve actual abuse. In most custody cases, each parent knows the other well enough to suspect if abuse might occur, but when the abuse can’t be predicted, a parent must consider all options in order to prevent further harm to the child.
Our firm took a case once in which a child claimed abuse at the hands of her father; the father claimed his innocence and turned to us. After a thorough investigation, we learned that the abuse could only have occurred on two specific dates. A background investigator looked into the father’s work record and found proof that the father wasn’t in town on either day of the potential abuse. Due to our work, law enforcement turned their investigation toward other individuals and vindicated our client. He had done nothing wrong, but that didn’t mean his child hadn’t suffered at the hands of someone else. During the course of our investigation, we discovered that the mother had started associating with several unbecoming individuals and the police began investigating these associates.
Once a judge issues a custody agreement, a parent can make sure the agreement is followed, but one has little control over the life of the other parent. Sometimes these parents place the children in unsafe conditions or put them in the presence of harmful individuals, all without the knowledge of the other parent. Hiring a private investigator to examine a custody agreement may not be helpful while an agreement is established, but once a parent hears rumors of misconduct against the child, a private investigator can obtain proof of the misconduct. With actual evidence in hand, a client’s bad situation can quickly turn better, and the safety of children can be ensured.
Contact a Licensed Private Investigator today for a No Cost Consultation 866.PRI.EYES (774.3937)