One of the most emotionally charged aspects of divorce, many years after the divorce is final, is child custody. In some cases it is used as a way to punish ex-spouses. But in other situations, it is a question of the welfare of the child(ren) that is at stake.
When an ex-spouse reaches out to an attorney about those situations, the first thing an attorney must ascertain is whether the child is being played as a pawn between angry exes or if there truly is a case for changing custody rulings.
It’s very difficult to prove. So many times it is a case of “he said,” “she said. So, in order to make an accurate determination, attorneys call private investigators like . A child custody investigator must be experienced since the result hangs on evidence that can be submitted to the court. Every aspect of the investigation is critical.
The results of an investigation may not be what was expected. In one case, the attorney called and explained that his potential client started the conversation about how her ex was a cheating spouse and cheating spouses don’t ever change. That was a red flag waving high, fast and furious, but she was adamant that she had to get her child out of the environment her “extramarital affair king” was providing. So instead of looking for signs of a cheating spouse, we were being asked to “follow my husband”, in this case, the already ex-husband.
Electronic surveillance is always part of these investigations. Gathering and preserving evidence is essential. Everything must be handled according to guidelines to be evidence to go to court.
The results in this case surprised the attorney. The once unfaithful husband had remarried. The ex-wife was accurate in her determination that he hadn’t changed his stripes. He was conducting several extramarital affairs. The surprise was that in no way were these discreet affairs, and he was involving his son in them – sort of.
The child was not actually involved in his marital infidelity, but rather used as the “reason” for his absence. The father and son would leave their home and meet up with a woman at a restaurant, mall or park. They would then leave to another location like a hotel or a residence where the couple would enter, leaving the boy in the car. The boy was instructed to lay down in the seat so the casual passersby would not notice him alone in the car.
Over a week’s time, this happened three times. Another time the boy was in the car as the father and a woman were standing outside the car hugging and kissing.
When children are involved, a secret affair doesn’t say secret long. Children talk, and in this case, the boy must have confided in his mother.
Our job as investigators is not to judge or draw conclusions. We gather facts and report them, along with providing documentation. When evidence is critical, such as in a case that involves the welfare of a child, be smart. Use a professional.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations