Legal Guide

Private Investigators and Child Custody Cases

Child custody cases are almost always difficult affairs that can be drawn out for months, as both parties attempt to gain the upper hand in the court proceedings.

To help in these types of situations, it’s never a bad idea to seek out the services of a licensed and professional private investigator who can help tilt the investigation in your direction.

In simple terms, a child custody investigation examines the child’s or children’s well-being and treatment in an objective fashion. Private investigators can help by assessing the treatment of a child by either or both parents and prepare a report for the court. “We have testified on several hundred cases,”says Joe Galigio, a local Private Investigator in San Antonio.


During the course of a child custody investigation, private investigators will almost certainly conduct surveillance to get a good idea of how the child is being treated when the parent in question doesn’t know there’s monitoring going on.

These instances are thoroughly documented, particularly if there’s any instance of neglect. Taking photographs and making audio and/or video recordings of the parent interacting with the child is common practice and helps to document any patterns of abuse or neglect.

Examples of things the private investigator would likely be looking for include reckless driving, criminal activity, gambling, drug abuse and physical and/or verbal abuse of the child by the parent.

The investigator may also take a look for any signs that the parent isn’t providing a safe and clean environment for the child, which includes lack of basic necessities like food and clothing.

Interviewing Witnesses

In preparation for a looming court case, a private investigator can interview witnesses who are involved in the child’s life in one way or another and prepare a report for the court. The witnesses can also be readied for testimony in a courtroom, if necessary.

People who usually testify on a child’s behalf include neighbors, teachers, counselors and parents of the child’s friends.

Gather Evidence

In addition to surveillance techniques, a private investigator can also gather evidence in a number of different ways.

This evidence can be obtained via on-line searches, by making phone calls, by driving past the parent’s home or place of business periodically or even, in some cases, by first hand contact with the parent in question.

Background Checks

Thorough background checks can be conducted on behalf of one parent in a child custody case and can often turn up interesting things that may not be common knowledge, even if the two parties have been married for a number of years.

You never know what a good thorough search might turn up, and it’s a private investigator’s job to be as detailed and complete as possible when doing these types of searches.

Asset Search

If you suspect your former partner is hiding assets in order to shirk his or her financial responsibilities toward the child, a good private investigator has the means and the talent necessary to find these types of assets. For instance, in New York, the Child Support Standards Act require a parent to contribute a percentage of their annual income to the welfare of the child.   

If it’s there, they will almost certainly find it. So vet your favorite private investigator and put him or her to work today on your child custody case.

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