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Posts Tagged ‘family law attorney’

Legal Basis in Family Law Investigations

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Private investigators oftentimes have the stigma of taking on any case for any reason. Advanced Professional Investigations has worked hard to change that perception through educating the public and clients on what a professional investigator does and how we think. We do, however, still get the calls from individuals that want their husband or wife followed to see if they are cheating or find out if we can bug their cell phone or computer. In our office, the protocol is to determine if the case has a legal basis or is purely need to know. As Colorado is a no-fault state for divorce, the only time we accept a domestic case is if there is an attorney involved and if the attorney feels our help is not only warranted, but also beneficial to their legal case. Locating assets, determining employment of a parent that has stopped paying child support, conducting background checks on questionable individuals that spend time with the children, and obtaining evidence of drug or alcohol use during visitation are just a few of the examples where the case may have a legal basis in order for us to accept a case. Our findings are then turned over to the family law attorney to ensure the information will be utilized in the proper manner. As family law cases/domestic cases can be extremely volatile with emotions running high, it is important to us that our findings will only be used in a legal setting.

Another reason we typically don’t accept family law cases without legal representation is that family law cases are often very emotionally-charged and volatile. Attorneys tell us these cases require a lot of patience and guidance. When taking on family law cases, our policy is to ask for a conference call so we can determine what information the attorney is looking for during the course of the investigation. Many times the client has ideas on what they would like done based on what they have seen on TV.  These requests may be above the legal scope of what we can do as investigators and may actually hurt the case. Communicating with the attorney helps keep the case on the right track. On the investigative end, it ensures the case is worked with results that will support the case in a legal setting, instead of fueling emotionally-based requests.

 

Documenting the Dynamics of Parenting Time

Friday, November 4th, 2016

divorce-pic

Like adults, children can have biases particularly in regards to their parents. Those biases are affected even more so in contentious divorces where struggles for parenting time become an emotional tug of war.

Emotions on the part of the client makes a family law attorney’s job even more difficult in determining whether concerns of the child regarding the other parent are being accurately described. Concerns for safety and the overall well-being of the children are sometimes in question and need to be taken seriously.

In addition to being helpful in determining whether drug or alcohol use is a factor during parenting time, having an accurate picture of the dynamics of the relationship can influence modification of that time. Although there may not be evidence of alcohol or drug use during visitation time, is there question of such in the hours before the child exchange? We at Advanced Professional Investigations have had cases in which we’ve documented subjects that have consumed alcohol immediately prior to a child exchange. Who is spending time with the children? Are background checks on individuals spending time with the children warranted? Unfortunately, we have had cases where new love interests or babysitters have had questionable backgrounds. Are the children being left unattended? Video documentation via surveillance can be crucial to a child custody case. Are the children in a healthy, stable, and safe environment is the ultimate question in parenting time or custody cases. There may also be a question of “quality time”. Is the other parent spending their time with the child or children or do they simply go about their daily business and leave the children in the care of others?

What are the children’s behaviors while they are spending time with that parent? Are they happy and seem content, or do they appear hesitant and fearful during their visitation?

Besides parenting time, questionable employment that would be detrimental to the emotional or physical well-being of the children may need to be answered. Is the subject working at a bar and taking the children with them during their shift for example?

Surveillance can be used to document questionable behaviors in an objective manner, providing the family law attorney with necessary information to proceed in the best interest of their client, or at times put the parent at easy knowing their child or children are well looked after while in the other’s care.