In order to make crucial decisions regarding family, it’s imperative to have all the information available. When it comes to the safety of minor children, objective facts are the crux of any decisions made regarding their care and living arrangements. In some cases, it may become necessary to place minor children in the care of their grandparents. In cases where grandparent custody is ordered, it helps to have the objectivity of a private investigator for purposes of fact-finding and due-diligence.
There are multiple circumstances under which grandparent custody might be considered during matters of child custody. Typically, grandparents take custody when both of the legal parents or guardians of the child are unable to care for them due to death, incarceration, institutionalization, or other forms of intervention on behalf of the state. Children are often placed with their grandparents by the court. In courts, it’s part of the due-diligence of the judge and any guardians ad litem that the health and happiness of the child be the priority. When making these determinations, having the objective opinion of a private investigator can go a long way.
Private investigators might be pulled in on behalf of concerned grandparents who fear their grandchildren are unsafe with their parent(s). The circumstances can range substantially. Parents who’ve had custody of their children taken from them and placed in the hands of grandparents might also be concerned for their child’s safety. Regardless of the context of grandparent custody, private investigators are there to perform due-diligence and provide recommendations.
Private investigators are first and foremost independent professionals. They are not bound by any jurisdiction or chain of command, and are free to pursue the truth rather than a desired outcome. With no stake in the outcome of the investigation, their word carriers an extra veneer of integrity that can be compelling in a court of law. Private investigators are highly adept at blending in to the background so they can document the unseen factors in any grandparent custody case. Using the best available in surveillance technology, private investigators can observe children in grandparent custody, documenting factors like how clean and well-fed do they look? Does the child seem happy? Does the child appear to have a good relationship with the grandparents? Private investigators can also canvass areas that are frequented by those with grandparent custody, interviewing them about what they have observed. Private investigators are highly adept at developing rapport with subjects and witnesses alike. Because private investigators are not law enforcement and have no powers of arrest, witnesses might also feel more comfortable opening up to them, which can dislodge roadblocks in case progression.
If you need help investigating a case of grandparent custody, consider the services of Lauth Investigations International today for your intelligence needs. Our team of investigators is comprised of former military and law enforcement who have diverse experience with the criminal justice system and intelligence operations. We carry an A+ with the Better Business Bureau and continue to garner 5-star Google reviews from grateful clients. For more information, visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com
Divorce and child custody are polarizing topics in the United States. Divorce itself is an ugly business. Two people who stood in front of their friends and families and promised themselves to another now find themselves in a situation where the life they built together is over. Often it is a storm of heightened emotions, personal crises, mediation, negotiation, carping, and resentment. For many, children sit in the eye of the storm, helplessly witnessing the destruction of their family unit around them. As if this were not tumultuous enough, children often become silent pawns between two parents or caregivers who seek to hurt one another. When developing a strategy for navigating a custody situation, caregivers often do not consider the possibility of hiring a private investigator to help build a credible case for sole or partial custody.
Many couples who are on the brink of divorce, or already treading in the harsh current of proceedings, default to the advice of lawyers, the court system, and child services when it comes to issues of custody. There is a myriad of reasons for this, including a parent’s financial means, work schedule, health issues, and ignorance. What’s problematic about leaving issues of custody in the hands of lawyers and the courts is families in turmoil become files in a drawer. The decisions made on behalf of the legal system often rest on the review of a mountain of paperwork; courts relying on police reports, financial/asset summaries, psychological evaluations, et cetera. What’s on paper becomes the load bearing beam for any decision made regarding custody, because caregivers in conflict are both subject to scrutiny in their statements against the other.
Private investigators have a tool chest similar to that of law enforcement allowing them to document a subject’s movements, behavior, and treatment of their children—both prior to divorce proceedings and after. Members of law enforcement are often the most credible investigators in the eyes of the court. However, unless a criminal act is reported, such as domestic violence or child neglect, law enforcement has little to no involvement in custody cases. Parents without those tools at hand are left with little recourse. Any evidence they document themselves is subject to scrutiny by the courts and by opposing counsel as misrepresented, inaccurate, or downright false. In those cases, those parents trying to build a credible case against their co-parent or caregiver can be maligned as malicious by opposing counsel, and those details may prove to be to their detriment.
The number one advantage of hiring a private investigator to document a questionable parent’s behavior is their ability to move through any environment undetected. Despite the fact a study determined there was an excess of 78,000 private investigators employed in the United States alone in 2017, you’ll never see a good one in the field. Private investigators are trained to blend into the crowd and surveil inconspicuously in order to ensure the subject does not modify their behavior for the benefit of being watched. In addition to hiding in plain sight, part of maintaining success in their profession means staying up to date on the best available surveillance technology on the market in order to gather evidence for their cases. Things like cameras disguised as ink pens, or drones with quiet motors that will not be easily detected. Parents are on their very best behavior when in mediation or appearing before a judge, but private investigators can completely upset the current state of a custody case with evidence they uncover in the field. They can document things like abuse and neglect through photographs, video, audio recordings, witness testimony, and the same examination of vital documents that would be performed by the courts. Their training has equipped them to be on the lookout for things like substance dependency, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or gambling problems. They can also document the opposing caregiver’s living conditions, whether or not the child is clean and well-fed, and their emotional wellness while in the care of said person. What makes a private investigator a particularly valuable asset is they are an objective third-party. Even if they have in fact been paid by one party in a custody case, misrepresentation of facts on their part may mollify their client in the moment, but will ultimately hurt their integrity with future business. Due to this, private investigators can become unimpeachable witnesses to behavior they’ve seen on the part of the opposing side that would damage the child’s well-being.
Private investigators can take on child custody cases at many different levels, all of which can be beneficial to the parent who wishes to establish a case against another parent or caregiver who they perceive to have questionable integrity. As with any investigation, the sooner the process of documenting and gathering evidence starts, the stronger a foundation the parent will have when they present their case before a judge. Parents who are considering divorcing a co-parent or caregiver and intend to establish a pattern of unfitness should consult a private investigator right away. The subject is more likely to proceed as they would normally prior to news that their partner is taking them to court. While the subject may not suspect they are being legally surveilled during a divorce proceeding, they are aware of the fact that—at a minimum—their behavior and actions during that time will be taken under consideration by the courts. The time to start collecting evidence is before divorce papers are drawn up and served.
However, it’s no mystery circumstances may not allow for this. Events prompting divorce proceedings may be very sudden, allowing no time for a hyper-covert investigation on behalf of the client. Parents who are in abusive relationships may not have access to the financial resources for this kind of initiative. As such, many private investigators enter the case when divorce is already a reality and custody proceedings are in full swing. One of the major criticisms of the court system in custody cases is children are often defaulted to the custody of their mothers, leaving fit fathers or other caregivers with few options. In one such example, an investigator from Indianapolis, IN was hired to investigate the parental fitness of a mother fighting her ex-husband and his parents for custody of their eight-year-old daughter. The child was shuttled back and forth between her mother and father’s respective homes for a few months while family court proceedings moved at a glacial pace. The father became increasingly concerned about his daughter while she was in her mother’s custody, and hired a private investigator to find answers. The investigator uncovered the mother’s place of residence on the record was dilapidated, dirty, and not at all a suitable environment for a child. Additionally, the investigator found the mother’s new husband had a criminal record, regularly used drugs, and had questionable judgement when it came to things like social media interaction and encounters with law enforcement. This led to the father retaining full custody of his daughter, with the mother being allowed only supervised visits. This investigative strategy is a two-way street, meaning that a parent who has been falsely accused of abuse or neglect in order to limit access to their child can hire a private investigator to disprove these claims, document the proper living conditions for the child in question, and secure evidence of malicious intent on behalf of the caregiver making false allegations.
Children should never be used as chess pawns in a messy divorce. Ultimately, any child custody investigation should be about the child’s safety and well-being—not about which parent is righteous in their indignation. A private investigator’s expertise, testimony, and lack of bias can shine a crisp, contextual light on the muddied waters of a child custody case.
Indianapolis, Indiana is home to many impressive things. The city of over 800,000 is most famous throughout the country as home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the site of the Indianapolis 500. In addition to a rich visual and performing arts culture, it’s also home to the nation’s largest children’s museum. Families across the United States cheer for one of two major sports franchises based in Indianapolis: the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, and the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. It’s also home to one of the country’s best private investigators.
Family-owned and operated for more than 30 years, Lauth Investigations International has specialized in complex corporate, financial, and private investigations worldwide. It is one of many private investigation firms based in Indiana’s capital. Given recent crime data, Indianapolis is a city where a well of clientele may never run dry. One of the areas of criminal investigation most associated with private investigators is missing persons and violent crime, so it’s no a wonder why so many private investigators have set up shop in Indianapolis, with violent crime on the rise.
Relative to its size and population, Indianapolis is comparable to Portland, Oregon or Charlotte, North Carolina. Portland has a crime rate of 227 per every 100,000 people, which is lower than the national average crime rate. North Carolina experiences a higher than average crime rate of 441 per every 100,000 people. As of 2016, Indianapolis’ reported crime rate was 823.2 per every 100,000 people. A CBS News report ranking dangerous cities placed Indianapolis as the 12th in the nation, citing the violent crime rate at more than three times the national average.
News media is saturated with headlines concerning violent crimes committed against Hoosiers, so it was a surprise to most when the FBI reported crime was actually down 10% from 2016 to 2017, especially burglaries and robberies which were down 17%. Violence—especially gun violence—however, is climbing. As of October 1st, 2018, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had investigated 127 homicides and 109 murders, with 12% of those cases attributed to robbery. The recent murder of Tykece Mike-Jones is a tragic example. He was killed over a cell phone he was attempting to sell to a person he contacted through the internet—another in a string of killings IMPD has been putting on blast to warn citizens. According to the FBI, 2017 was the third record-breaking year for crime statistics in Indianapolis, and stats from the first half of this year have projected 2018 will be no different. Law enforcement attributes the overall drop in crime to the increased ubiquity of surveillance cameras in the metropolitan area.
Firms like Lauth Investigations International can assist in many types of criminal investigation. Just as in the case of violent crimes, private investigators combine the skills of law enforcement and the autonomy of a private citizen to conduct concurrent or independent investigations into a person who vanishes under any circumstances. But not all missing persons cases are the result of a person meeting a violent end. As “the crossroads of America,” Indianapolis experiences a moderate to high level of human trafficking. One of the most complex issues in human trafficking is tracking traffickers across multiple jurisdictions as they transport victims from city to city. Law enforcement can often be handcuffed by jurisdictional issues, but private investigators use their autonomy to pole vault over this red tape in pursuit of leads that might otherwise go cold. Due to his experience in complex missing persons investigations, private investigator, Thomas Lauth has worked with Interpol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Consulate and other foreign embassies on a myriad of cases, including human trafficking.
Indianapolis private investigators are not limited to cases of violent crime and missing persons, however. Every major metropolitan area will always have cases dealing with infidelity or child custody, but private investigators based in Indianapolis have ample opportunity to service local businesses with their skill-set. Indianapolis is home to a diversified body of businesses, but its five top industries are:
Many business owners—especially small business owners—often are not aware of how a private investigator’s services can protect, or even save, their companies. Every business needs valued employees, and finding the right person can often be an arduous task. The candidate might be qualified, but how much about their record can be independently verified? Hiring a private investigator to do background checks for employees will ensure that any verification of their qualifications will be vetted. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many employers are making independent background checks a regular step of their hiring process in order to weed out potential predators in their workforce. All types of business can experience the full spectrum of employee theft (from vanishing office supplies to full-on embezzlement), violation of non-compete agreements, and offenses under the umbrella of employee malingering, including FMLA abuse. The independent involvement of a private investigator in the investigation of any employee misconduct will lay a strong foundation for any HR or legal consequences, ensuring that the investigation is thorough and objective from beginning to end. Kristen Justis, the Managing Director of Client Relations for Lauth Investigations International, commented on the role Lauth can play in bolstering local business, “We have a wealth of opportunities to help private citizens every day. We help frantic parents find their missing child, or put a spouse’s suspicions of infidelity at ease, but those are the cases that sensationalize this industry. Many business owners are not aware of how the services we offer can go a long way towards extending the longevity of their businesses.”
Every major industry operating in Indianapolis can rely on the services of a private investigator to protect their business—not just from its own workforce, but potential consumers as well. Finance, insurance, and real estate of all kinds can benefit from a comprehensive vetting of a consumer after their request for services. Financial institutions and insurance brokers may check a consumer’s credit, but a full background check on an applicant can sharpen the big picture when making a cost-benefit analysis regarding any transaction. In the housing industry, any landlord renting or leasing their property can be fully informed about their tenants when they employ a private investigator to run a background check. An analysis of Indianapolis’s economy by the Indianapolis Business Journal concluded that the apartment booms the city experienced were driven largely by empty-nesters and childless millennials, projecting that it would only continue to grow.
Indianapolis already has a national economical reputation for developing and sustaining niche markets, such as the market around motorsports and auto-racing. As the metropolis continues to grow in population and economy, so will the opportunities for Indy-based private investigators to support their community.
Carie McMichael is the Communications and Media Specialist for Lauth Investigations International. She regularly writes on missing person and investigation topics. For more information, please visit our website.
How can an Indianapolis private investigator help keep my child safe during divorce or child custody dispute?
All too common in today’s headlines are stories involving children who have been abused. While we worry about our children’s safety around strangers, we sometimes fail to take the proper precautions to keep children safe in their own environments. Private investigators specializing in child custody investigations work directly with an attorney to generate a formative case for impeachment. Child custody investigators are trained to investigate and detect child abuse, neglect, substance and alcohol abuse, and other behaviors that may endanger a child. The information gathered by a qualified child custody private investigator about a custodial or non-custodial parent during a legal custody investigation, can uncover behavior that places a child at risk of harm, while also documenting the incidents of concern. This is a critical step in ensuring the information gathered during the child custody investigation can be presented in court if necessary. During cases of separation and divorce, no corner should be cut when considering the safety of a child, and a qualified private investigator can literally save a child’s life.
Why is it important to utilize a private investigator specializing in child custody investigations?
Any separation or divorce is an emotional time during one’s life. At times, the situation can become volatile. While a parent’s first priority should be the child’s safety and emotional stability, it is not uncommon for parents to make false allegations to restrict the other parent’s access to the child. Unfortunately, children commonly become the pawns during a divorce and child custody case. Utilizing a private investigator specializing in custodial investigations can reduce incidents of false accusations, substantiate legitimate allegations, and ensure the child’s well-being is first priority.
Ideally, a qualified and licensed private investigator is hired to conduct the child custody investigation and work directly with an attorney during the pre-filing phase. The private investigator and the attorney handling the case work together to ensure all concerns are addressed prior to filing the case in court. This also ensures as much information as possible is presented to the court during the initial phase of the child custody case.
What happens during a child custody investigation?
A child custody investigator can document critical information during exchanges and visitations to chronicle how the child is treated while in the care of the other parent. Gathering evidence supporting mistreatment or neglect of a child during a legal custody investigation can entail interviewing the other parent, questioning witnesses, and conducting background checks on all parties involved in the child’s care. In addition, an experienced private investigator will conduct an on-site assessment of the child’s home can determine if the child is being cared for in a suitable environment by evaluating the cleanliness of the home and those who reside in, or frequently visit the home.
Also very common is utilizing video surveillance to document the parent’s behavior while the child is in their care, documenting those the parent associates with and who the parent may be exposing the child to, if the parent is participating in an illegal of reckless behavior, and any incidents of abuse such as keeping record of any bruises or injuries. Hiring a licensed child custody investigator ensures the investigation is conducted legally and the quality of evidence gathered can be used in a court of law. If required, the investigator will also provide expert court testimony.
Should I hire a child custody private investigator and what should I be doing?
In court, judges commonly hear accusations from both sides. At times it becomes very difficult to determine who may be telling the truth and if concerns are warranted. Evidence presented in court by a licensed private investigator provides documented proof of allegations the court must take into consideration when making a ruling in a child custody case. It is especially important to present an accurate representation of a person’s character during any court case and even more important when children’s lives are impacted.
If you suspect the other parent may be abusing your child emotionally or physically while in their care, it is important to substantiate those concerns. While hiring an investigator can guide and assist you, keeping a journal of any negative events, comments your child makes that are of concern, comments or threats the other parent makes to you, are helpful. Especially important, document any injuries the child has sustained in the care of the other parent by keeping written record and photographs of the injuries. Also, record any medical treatment received by a medical professional.
If you suspect the other parent may be drinking excessively or involved in substance abuse while caring for the child, a private investigator can document the other parent’s actions by observing their daily activities, document those who come and go at the residence, and detect drug and alcohol abuse.
If you suspect the other parent is neglectful, participating in any kind of criminal behavior, or associating with individuals who may have a criminal background, it is best to have a private investigator perform a comprehensive background check on the other parent, anyone that resides with the parent or has interaction with your child. It is important to keep in mind, most incidents of child abuse and child death, occur within the home of a child and injuries inflicted by those trusted to care for the child.
If you are not certain who the other parent is associating with, a private investigator can conduct surveillance to document who is coming and going at the home, even documenting license plates to determine the identity of individuals permitted to be in close proximity or care for your child.
If you are concerned about how a child custody investigation may affect your child, it is important to know professional private investigators are highly trained in child custody investigations to utilize investigative methods that minimize exposure of the child to the investigation. In fact, most investigations can be conducted without the child ever knowing, as the investigator is there to protect the child and serve in their best interest.
When children’s safety is in question, it is always best to be safe than sorry. If no questionable behavior is uncovered, everyone can feel secure knowing the child is in safe hands with two loving and responsible parents.
About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym is an expert in the field of missing persons and continues to advocate for crime victims utilizing 20 years’ experience working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media.
Fighting for custody of your children is the most important battle you’ll ever wage. Losing the right to see your kids and spend time with them as you see fit isn’t something anyone should face alone. Custody battles can be long, intimidating, and costly. You need every resource at your disposal to make sure you have the upper hand at every stop. Here are five ways private investigators can make sure you’re not alone in the fight of your life.
1. Did you really know your ex?
How well do you know your ex? When you got married you certainly believed you knew her inside and out, but you also didn’t believe you’d end up divorced. Splitting up will change how you view one another. You’ll start seeing flaws you never noticed before and having questions you thought you knew the answer too. You thought you knew her before you got married, but did you?
When did you first meet your ex? Have you known her since grade school or did you meet later in life? Are you certain this was her first marriage? Does she have a criminal history she kept hidden from you? Where has she worked and why did she change jobs? Private investigators can answer all of these questions and more by running extensive background checks and personally verifying the information for you.
2. Who’s coming and going?
When you and your ex shared a home, you consulted each other before inviting people over. Together you decided who you did and didn’t want inside your house. Now that you’re apart, those determinations will be made separately, which might be cause for concern.
It’s one thing for your ex to bring people over when the kids aren’t there, but what about when they are? Who’s coming and going from the house and what are they doing? Maybe the increase in visitors is nothing. Maybe someone selling drugs from the house.
In an ideal world you’d ask your ex what’s going on and get a straight answer, but that’s likely not the case. Divorce can create tension and difficulty in communication. One way to avoid a big fight that won’t get you the answers you want is to hire a private investigator. An investigator can surveil the home and determine who is stopping by and why. P.I.s will get you vital information while avoiding the drama of asking your ex.
3. Are my kids safe and clean?
Children need a comfortable and clean environment. It’s vital to their development that they have a space they can relax and feel safe in. Who took care of the house when you and your ex were still together? Have your kids made comments about their mom not keeping the house tidy like she should?
It should be easy to find out about the condition of your ex’s place, but maybe she won’t let you in out of embarrassment or scorn. If she’s having a rough time dealing with the divorce it’s possible she’s depressed and not taking care of things like your children deserve. Private investigators can determine the condition of her home and help you ensure your kids are safe and comfortable.
4. Where is your ex taking you children and are they safe?
Worried about where your ex takes your children during her visitation time? At least when she stays home you know they’re somewhere safe and controlled. They’re in a familiar place and near a phone in case of an emergency. What happens when she packs the kids into the car and goes somewhere else though?
Depending on the age of your children they might need booster seats when they ride in the car. Are they to small to safely ride in the front seat? Is your ex properly placing them in safety restraints? Is she making sure they put their seat belts on every time they travel? Where is she taking your kids?
People deal with stress differently. Some people take up knitting or learn to play a musical instrument. Others find themselves seeking the comfort of a bottle or narcotic. Are you sure your children aren’t being driven around to liquor stores and bad neighborhood’s where your ex picks up her supplies?
Private investigators can answer all of these question with mobile surveillance. Investigators can track your ex to make sure your children aren’t being placed in dangerous positions. Not only can P.I.s let you know where your children are being taken and how, but they can document instances of child endangerment for evidence in court.
5. Who are these people?
Splitting up with your ex means going in different directions and starting new lives. Building a new life requires developing new social circles. When you were married you knew you were coming home to each other and your kids every evening. Now that you’re apart, other people will begin filling that void.
Can you trust your ex to keep you informed about the strangers she’s bringing around your children? Maybe she genuinely trusts these people, but how good has her judgement been in the past? She might be a little too trusting for your comfort.
Private investigators can give you peace of mind by figuring out who she’s introducing to your children. Running background checks and surveillance will give you a clear picture of who’s interacting with your children and whether you should be concerned or not. Be certain that your kids are safe and know for sure if they’re not
For Private Investigation Inquiry contact Thomas Lauth, Lauth Investigations 317-951-1100
David Schroeder, Blog Writer, Lauth Investigations International