During a child custody investigation, it is important for the parent hiring the private investigator to understand the different types of child custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make legal decisions on behalf of the child. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child will live. Either type of custody may be sole or joint custody. Sole custody means that one parent has the primary role in the child’s life. Joint means that the parents share the responsibility of the type of custody that is at stake.
A private investigator often plays many different roles in a child custody investigation, including the following:
A private investigator may interview witnesses who may be involved in the child’s life, including neighbors, teachers, counselors, parents of friends and other individuals.
Another important role that a private investigator has is to find assets that may be hidden. If the private investigator can find evidence of this nature, the client can argue that the other parent is attempting to shirk his or her financial obligations to the child.
Before a private investigator begins work on the project, he or she generally meets with the client to determine what type of information may be relevant to the case. For example, a parent may know that the other parent hires a babysitter during his or her scheduled time with the child. The person may want evidence that the other party has a romantic partner living with him or her and present during times with the children. Additionally, a private investigator may gather evidence of the parent’s drug or alcohol use when he or she is responsible for the children. In some situations, a private investigator may be able to show that the parent is neglecting or abusing the children.
In other situations, the parent may be concerned about what the other parent is doing during scheduled visits. He or she may be allowing the children to be up late at night and the child’s grades may suffer as a consequence.
A private investigator may take high quality pictures or video of the other parent. These pictures and videos are often taken in public places to avoid any privacy violation claims. Such locations may be in the front yard, park, grocery store or other locations where there is no expectation of privacy.