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While the current divorce rate is falling, an estimated 750,000 divorces occur every year in the United States. For couples with children, they must determine who will have primary custody of their children and who will pay child support. Unfortunately, child custody cases are typically long and drawn-out battles that require lawyers. A licensed private investigator can also play an essential role in helping clients win a child custody case and do what is best for the children.

About Child Custody

Child custody is a legal term referring to a parent’s rights to make major life decisions for and about a child. This also includes the right to have the child in a parent’s care. Visitation is another type of custody, which includes the parent’s right to visit with a child at specific times per a court order. This secondary type of custody is often for a limited time and under strict conditions depending on the court order. 

What Are the Types of Child Custody Cases?

If you have a child custody case, it’s important to understand the different types of child custody.

  • Legal custody – this gives you full rights regarding the decision-making about your child.
  • Physical custody – this custody allows your child to live with you in your home.
  • Sole custody – this custody gives you legal rights regarding the decision-making about your child and the child lives with you.

If a court has granted you sole custody, the other parent can still be awarded visitation rights. If your ex and you are granted joint legal custody, this means you both have a say about decisions regarding the child. For any serious disagreements, a court will have to get involved to settle it. If you are given joint physical custody, this means that your child will live with you for some of the time, while they live with their other parent for the rest of the time. 

What Are the Child’s Best Interests?

In any child custody case, a main goal is to determine which parent will be able to best care for and support the child. Indeed, this can be a challenging situation, depending on certain factors. Some cases are quite clear as there is hard evidence of child abuse and neglect. On the other hand, other cases require more digging of subtle information that isn’t readily available. 

When handling a child custody case, a court considers the stability, health, and lifestyles of each parent. The look for any:

  • Criminal records
  • Evidence of abuse or neglect (child or domestic)
  • History of violence
  • Use of drugs and alcohol

How a PI Can Help with Your Child Custody Case

Private investigators have the skills, experience, and resources to help you gather the evidence you need to win a child custody case. Evidence is crucial, as your word against your ex-partner’s word will make it difficult for the court to make the best decision. Indeed, PIs can help you find proof of an abusive or neglective parent or an unstable person living with your ex while your child visits them.

Conduct Background Checks

A private investigator can conduct background checks on the other parent in question. This will help reveal any evidence of parental negligence or child abuse. If evidence is found, this can be brought to court, which can help prevent an unstable parent from receiving full custody of their child. When running a background check, a PI will look at any records or proof of:

  • Child abuse
  • Child endangerment
  • Child neglect
  • Drug abuse
  • Gambling
  • Reckless driving
  • Other types of criminal activity

When this evidence is shown to the court, the other parent guilty of any of the above will be less likely to be granted full custody of their child compared to a stable parent. A PI can also find out if a parent has proper living arrangements that are safe for a child. If they don’t, this can help the other parent that has a safe place for the child to live build a stronger case against their ex-partner.

Find Financial Assets for Child Support

Determining which parent should pay child support and how much they should pay is one of the most challenging aspects of this type of case. Typically, the child support amount is based on how much a parent earns from their income and their assets. Unfortunately, some parents will try to conceal their income or assets to pay a lower child support amount. This is where private investigators can help. These experts can uncover the following financial assets through research and databases:

  • Bonuses
  • Gambling or lottery prizes
  • Mutual funds
  • Property
  • Second jobs
  • Stocks

Gather Witness Interviews

During the private investigation, PIs will gather witness interviews from people that know the child and parents well. This includes:

  • Aunts
  • Daycare providers
  • Friends
  • Grandparents
  • Neighbors
  • Teachers
  • Uncles

A skilled PI can gather key testimonies that are useful in court, while also identifying and flushing out any bias from witnesses.

Perform Surveillance

Another key benefit of hiring a PI is that they can perform surveillance on the other parent. This will help determine whether the parent properly cares for the child. The PI will look for any signs of abuse, neglect, or reckless behaviors, such as doing drugs, alcohol, or crime with or without the child in their care. Additionally, the investigator can determine if the other parent has a safe home environment for the child. 

As you can see, there are several benefits of hiring a PI for a child custody case. A PI has the time, expertise, and resources to help you gather the necessary evidence to win your case. This is especially important if your ex-partner has a history of abuse, neglect, and getting in trouble with the law. Contact PATRIOT Backgrounds and Investigations today to learn how we can help you with your child custody case. We can give you peace of mind knowing that you have a team of experts that are dedicated to helping each client to the best of our ability and ensuring that your case is handled in a timely, efficient manner.