Child Custody Investigations in Bc - Zukerman Law

A Guide to Child Custody Investigations

Divorce and child custody disputes are some of the most emotionally challenging situations a family can face. During this difficult time, the well-being of your child becomes the top priority.  Child custody investigations can play a crucial role in ensuring the court has the necessary information to make the best possible decision about your child’s future living arrangements.  

This article will guide you through everything you need to know about child custody investigations, including when they might be necessary, what they involve, and how Zukerman Law Group can help you navigate this process with your child’s best interests at heart.

What is a Child Custody Investigation?

What is a Child Custody Investigation?

In short, it’s an investigation of a parent’s or other adult’s capacity to give a child safe and suitable care. If a parent-child dispute has reached the courts, the court will need to hear evidence regarding the potential level of care that each parent may provide as well as any potential red flags, like child safety concerns. This can indicate the need for a child custody investigation.

An investigation focuses on observing parenting, examining any potential issues, and ensuring child safety. Investigators record and manage any child protection issues like neglect, ill-treatment, or drug or alcohol abuse. The investigation provides legal evidence for court involving witnesses as well.

Child custody investigation typically entails:

  • Assessing their lifestyle habits (drug/alcohol use, criminal background, etc.), financial stability, and ability to provide for the child’s needs.
  • Visiting each parent’s home to assess safety, cleanliness, and suitability for the child.
  • Conducting interviews with parents, relatives, teachers, and anyone who can shed light on the child’s well-being and the parents’ parenting skills.
  • Observing parents and children together during visits or outings to assess their interactions.

The investigator then compiles all this information into a report presented to the court. This helps the judge determine what custody arrangement (sole custody, shared custody, visitation rights) would be in the child’s best interests.

What Happens in an Investigation?

What Happens in an Investigation?

You have seven days from the date of the order for a comprehensive child custody investigation to deliver the completed court-provided questionnaire to the courthouse.

When a partial investigation is ordered, questionnaires are to be returned to the investigator within 24 hours. 

Partial investigations focus on extremely particular details that the court has requested. If a partial investigation is ordered, the investigator is only permitted to collect the information that is expressly specified in the court order and must stay within the scope of the Court Order.

You will be required to sign a consent form granting the investigator access to social services, medical, psychological, school, law enforcement, and/or other records that will help to clarify the family history and circumstances. After the questionnaire is turned in, the court investigator will contact you to discuss the investigation.

The investigation may involve separate interviews with each parent, allowing parents to present concerns and issues. The investigator may also conduct a home visit to inspect the home and observe parent-child interaction if necessary.

Your child or children may have individual conversations with the investigator in a neutral location. Usually, the child(ren)’s school is where this happens. The investigator is aware that your child or children may be feeling a wide range of emotions about their family circumstances. The focus of the observations and interviews is your child(ren)’s age. Interviews with children less than five are usually not conducted. Children won’t be directly asked to choose between their parents by the investigator. However, their thoughts, feelings, and experiences will be important in understanding their needs.

The investigator may consult with school personnel, day care providers, social workers, and therapists, and may also evaluate each parent’s mental state. Psychological, drug, or alcohol testing may be requested. These evaluations require the Professional of a trained professional, which can be incorporated into the child custody investigation or submitted separately to the court.

Note: Zukerman Law Group can help you navigate these complex situations and advise you on whether a child custody investigation is necessary in your specific case. Our experienced attorneys will work closely with you to understand your concerns and ensure the investigation gathers all the relevant information to protect your child’s best interests. Get the legal help you deserve. Contact Zukerman Law Group today for a free consultation.

What are the Investigator’s Qualifications?

What are the Investigator’s Qualifications?

Child custody investigators are court-appointed professionals with special training in how divorce, separation, and family dynamics affect children. They understand the factors judges consider in custody and visitation decisions, like a child’s needs and development, and potential issues like domestic violence.

They gather facts and provide a neutral assessment, focusing solely on what’s best for your child. They’re not there to take sides, but to ensure the court has a clear picture of your situation.

When Do You Need a Child Custody Investigation?

When Do You Need a Child Custody Investigation?

Not all child custody disputes require a formal investigation. However, there are several situations where an investigation can be invaluable in helping the court determine the best living arrangement for your child. Here are some common scenarios:

Allegations of Abuse or Neglect

If you have concerns about your child’s safety due to potential physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or neglect in the other parent’s home, an investigation can gather evidence to support your claims.

Concerns About a Parent’s Lifestyle

If you have worries about a parent’s substance abuse, mental health issues, involvement in criminal activity, or unstable living situation, an investigation can provide the court with a clearer picture of the environment the child would be in.

Significant Disagreements on Parenting Issues

When there are major disagreements about major aspects of your child’s upbringing, such as education, religious practices, or healthcare decisions, an investigation can help assess each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs in these areas.

Limited or No Contact with One Parent

If there has been limited or no contact between the child and one parent for an extended period, an investigation can assess the child’s current relationship with that parent and their potential for reintegration.

Domestic Violence

If there is a history of domestic violence in the relationship, an investigation can be crucial in determining the safety of the child and the potential risk to their well-being.

Conclusion

When navigating child custody disputes, prioritizing your child’s well-being is paramount. A thorough child custody investigation can provide invaluable information to ensure the court makes the best decision for your child’s future.

We understand that going through a custody battle can be incredibly stressful and emotionally draining. Zukerman Law Group is here to support you throughout this challenging process.

FAQs

  • 1- Who wins most child custody cases?1

    Women often win child custody rights 90% of the time, despite fathers playing a significant role in their children’s lives pre and post-divorce.

  • 2- What type of custody is most common?1

    Joint custody arrangements have become increasingly common in recent years, as they allow both parents to spend meaningful time with their children and remain involved in their lives post-divorce.

  • 3- At what age can a child choose a parent in California?1

    In California, children over 14 years old are considered “of sufficient age” to express a preference, allowing them to choose their preferred parent after a divorce or separation, as they are considered “of sufficient age.”

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Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.