Taking care of your kids requires your full attention and constant vigilance. This is especially true in child support cases. Whether you’re divorcing your long-term spouse or simply trying to ensure the safety of your kids by legally gaining full custody on your own end, child guardianship cases are matters that all family courts take incredibly seriously. Depending on the situation, you may need to hire a private investigator to achieve the most favorable outcome. But what will your PI look for in a child support investigation?
Criminal Activity, Behavior, or Associations
Courts always try to prioritize the safety and security of the children in any type of custody battle. Evidence of recent or ongoing criminal activity or behavior can be enough for a court to side with the other parent in a custody hearing, regardless of how serious the crimes or behaviors are. Even if the parent in question doesn’t take part in the crime itself, associating with known criminals or those with violent behavior can tip the scales in your favor.
Substance Abuse or Alcohol Usage Around the Kids
According to the most recent Gallop Poll, approximately 63% of American adults admit to being regular or social drinkers. Those with higher incomes are more likely to drink consistently, averaging 80% of moderate-to-heavy drinkers who earn over $100,000 annually. Compared to those numbers, far fewer adults admit to using other substances, but even prescription abuse can cause serious behavioral problems. That’s why courts heavily consider the safety of children who are cared for in any capacity by parents or other adults who engage in substance abuse or use alcohol around the kids.
Reckless or Dangerous Driving Behaviors
Everyone gets frustrated once in a while in tight traffic or other driving situations. But engaging in reckless or dangerous driving behaviors, especially with the kids in the car, is an easy way to lose any current or future custodial privileges. Such behaviors can easily include improper car seat installation or letting your kids ride in the car without latching them into their seats or booster seats. Each state’s laws can vary, but typically, kids riding in any car are required to be latched in a car seat until they’re four years old. They’re also required to ride in a booster seat until they’re 4 feet, nine inches tall, and at least eight years old. Ignoring those regulations will flag any parent for potential child endangerment in the court’s eyes.
History or Evidence of Child Abandonment or Neglect
There comes a time when children deserve some privileges and earn the right to be left alone for a few hours at a time. Most child experts agree on the ages of 11-12, but that depends on several factors. The custodial parent or guardian makes the final decision in those cases. Of course, there’s a vast difference between leaving responsible adolescents alone for a short period and abandoning or neglecting them altogether. The right PI will look into the parental habits and behavior to get potential evidence of abandonment and neglect. When you’re ready to hire a private investigator and get the evidence you need, we’re just a call away.