Child Custody Investigation in Toronto. A lot goes into a child’s well-being. In most cases, having a stable background completely defines who they become when they grow up. This is child custody investigation has to be done diligently, to ensure that the child indeed ends up in the best scenario.
Defining Child Custody
Child custody defines having total responsibility for a child. This term comes up in cases where married adults are separated and have children born to them.
They need to define who gets custody and the limitations behind visitation rights.
The simplest of these cases is where the parents sit down and agree upon custody and visitation. It is, however, advisable to put the agreement in writing. In harder cases where the guardians cannot come to a consensus, they may need to hire lawyers or mediators to help them come to a valid written agreement. If even then they don’t agree, then the court of law would have to decide for them in a judgment.
When Deciding Custody Can Be Hard
This scenario is common where one parent is certain the other is not fit to take care of the children. This could be based on valid provable facts like:
- Financial stability: proves their inability to provide for the children
- Their social standing: criminal records, questionable activities like drunkenness and drug abuse
- Psychological stability: if there are cases of psychological instability or history with psychological issues
Some cases, even with the above not being an issue, one parent may feel the other is unfit based on their judgment on such issues as religion, decisions on education like where to take them to school and at what age, as choices on medical care and insurance.
When Child Custody Investigation is required
Child custody investigations in Toronto become necessary when the two parents, even with mediation, cannot come to an agreement on custody. So when the court takes over, they need custody investigations done as the court only thinks of the child’s well- being. The court needs to find out the best scenario for the child and thus, through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, conducts the necessary investigations and assessments.
In some cases, where even the parents are not sure about each other, they too can hire a Child Custody Investigation In Toronto to investigate the other party.
See the article How To Choose A Private Investigator In Ontario
Possible Findings In An Investigation
There are a number of factors that may come to light after a custody investigation is done. These include:
- Cases of violence or abuse upon the children or spouse
- Psychological instability of either parent
- Criminal records on either parent
- The financial status of either or both parents
- History of substance abuse
- Proof of child abandonment and neglect
Now, much as the children will indeed be under the custody of either parent, the court recognizes that they will be living in a specific society dictated by the family of either parent as well as other relevant others in their lives. As such, this investigation goes beyond the two parents and into their immediate family. As such, each member is checked on all the above.
Types Of Child Custody Investigations
A parent is within their rights to hire a Child Custody Investigation In Toronto to carry out investigations on the other party, to determine if indeed they are suitable to take care of the child. They can even ask their lawyer to hire a private investigator on their behalf. This could be in an effort to discredit their partner or in the case of shared custody, to simply ascertain that they can take care of the children.
Some also hire private investigators in order to determine their partner’s true financial worth in case there are alimony charges filed together with the custody case.
A private investigator’s most common investigation tools are:
- Background checks where they go fishing for any kind of records that could be useful. This includes criminal records, financial records, hospital records that could indicate any psychological issues, evidence of substance abuse and so on.
- Witnesses: neighbors, friends of the family, or even teachers and church folk can be a good source of information when it comes to character witnesses. They have seen the family and the parents in every possible family situation and can, therefore, help judge the parent’s reliability and capability when it comes to taking care of the children.
- Surveillance: a private investigator may succumb to this when these other two tools do not offer enough evidence to draw a conclusion on. They, therefore, have to follow the parent and document any incidents relevant to the case. These could include abuse or mistreatment and neglect of the kids.
All evidence legally gathered by a private investigator is admissible in the court of law. This includes written witness statements, financial records, police reports, videos, audiotapes, and photographs. By legally, we mean they did not break in to gather the info, they did not bribe anyone to fabricate info or involve themselves in any illegal activity to gain the evidence. A P.I Toronto can be called as a witness to testify for or against a parent to determine their suitability in taking of the children.
Child Custody Investigation in Toronto
Children in cases of parental separation or divorce between 1991 and 2011. Approximately 5 million Canadians separated or divorced. Of these, 38% had a child together at the time of their separation or divorce.
According to the GSS (2011), parents who have a child together at the time of their separation or divorce often have written agreements setting out children’s primary residence (59%) and time spent with children (45%).
Again, it only comes to this when the parents or guardians are incapable of coming to an agreement and the court has to come in. The court hires a private assessor, who is either a child psychologist or a social worker, to assess the situation and find out all they can about the guardians and the people likely to be close to the kids.
They will fish out information on the parent’s emotional and mental states and their ability and willingness to provide what is most necessary for the children, financially, emotionally and psychologically. The assessor needs to be qualified and thus capable of making commendations on what would be best for the children based on their findings.
Once done with the assessment, the assessor is then required to write a report to the judge regarding their findings. They would need to state which parent is the better choice and why. The judge is then capable of coming to a conclusion based on this.
It is important to note that whether the assessor is chosen by the court or either or both parents, their fee is footed by the parents not the court.
Office of the Children’s Lawyer investigations
This comes as an additional assessment on top of the court assigned assessment, where either the parents or the court feel it is necessary to seek the assistance of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. Clinical investigators are appointed to the case and they conduct a separate investigation to come up with their own independent findings which will weigh in on the final judgment.
They then gather their findings and write a report to the court, with their recommendations clearly stated at the end. The lawyers of both parties also receive a copy of the report, as it will be highly considered in the hearing.
If either party feels the findings are unjust, they are at liberty to file a formal dispute to both the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and the court. Once the case is in session, the Child Custody Investigators in Toronto may be called in as witnesses for either party.