Family Private Investigator Los Angeles

family pi in los angeles californiaFamily law is the branch of the legal system that focuses on the issues that pertain to family matters. Family matters can include adoption, child custody, divorce, paternity, emancipation, child support, and so much more. Private investigators may provide family private investigation services as a part of their specialties (primarily divorce and child custody).

Matters that fall into the category of family law and investigation can involve delicate subject matter, making it imperative to have a private detective that can be discreet, professional, and honest. The well being of a child or children can be at stake if the investigations are not conducted correctly, making the relationship between the investigator and the client even more crucial.

Using Investigative Services Alongside Attorney Services

There is one glaring difference between an attorney and a private investigator – the willingness that a private detective has to go above and beyond for you and your child. This statement might seem bold, but a lot of it comes down to what attorneys have time for and what they don’t. The caseloads that attorneys carry is often overwhelming, making it hard for them to spend the same individualized attention on you that a private investigator can.

One is not more important than the other, though. Private investigators are not qualified as an attorney and vice versa. They are the perfect combination to win a child support or custody case. Many attorneys will use a private investigator in cases or have them on retainer for the sole purpose of helping with the collection of evidence for their cases.

How Private Investigations Can Be Used in Family Law

Hiring a private investigator to enhance a family law case can be done by the attorney or the client -after all, both are on the same side. The most common situations that you will see a private investigator called upon are:

  • Child Custody – A private investigator may be called on to take witness statements to prove to the court that they are capable of handling custody of the child. Surveillance can be used as a means to identify problems within the household of the other parent or situations that should be brought to the court’s attention. Background searches are often done to check out those who are a part of the child’s life (this can be beneficial for both parties).
  • Child Support – Private investigators can help uncover the evidence needed to identify cohabitation and any unreported income that might be left out of payment calculations.
  • Divorce Proceedings – Pre-divorce asset searches and other intelligence-gathering tasks

The evidence that is collected by a family private investigator in Los Angeles can often become a determining factor within a ruling. That is why having strong photographic, video, and other types of evidence are crucial.

Los Angeles Child Custody Private Investigator

The number one goal of a parent with children is to protect them. As private investigators who work within the family legal system, our goal is to help protect our clients so that they can continue to protect their children. If there were not some concern with the other party, attorneys and their clients would not seek out the help of a private investigator in these cases. For that reason, no stone goes unturned, and a full plan of action is created prior to execution.

Private investigators handling child custody cases will conduct thorough investigations involving:

  • Criminal activity
  • Reckless driving, failure to use proper child restraints, and other vehicular violations
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Having a criminal or dangerous presence around the child
  • Leaving the child with someone who is unqualified, underqualified, or unapproved
  • Leaving the child with someone who is abusive

Often, the help of a private investigator may be called in if the child in the case begins to show signs of abuse or talks about situations where they are in danger when they are with the other parent. The investigator may begin active surveillance on the other party or begin getting witness statements from an unbiased third-party who can discuss the child’s welfare in the presence of either parent.

Every case has a different approach, and what works with one child custody case may not work with another. In Los Angeles, using surveillance and video or photographic evidence might be more beneficial in court.

LA Child Support Investigations

Any parent can tell you that having children is not cheap. In situations where one parent is the custodial party and the other is considered non-custodial, it falls on the non-custodial party to pay support. Child support can be frustrating, especially when the non-custodial party is not paying or they are not paying enough. There are also times when circumstances change, and the amounts need to be adjusted, but unless it is brought to the court, there is no way to determine the amounts (which would require full disclosure from the non-custodial party).

Private investigators can obtain the evidence even if the non-custodial party isn’t holding up their end of the agreements. The following are ways that a private investigator may be called upon to help in these types of cases:

  • Surveillance that identifies cohabitation or co-parenting arrangements between the parties
  • Financial intelligence that shows bank accounts and other assets
  • Witness statements to help in the determination of who the child is with the majority of the time
  • Trash retrieval for important supporting documentation like bills
  • And much more evidence retrieval options

Divorce Proceedings and Surveillance

A major part in child custody and support may be included in a divorce proceeding, which is also a large part of family law. Many divorce proceedings will also include a division of the assets, especially when there are large amounts of property to split. If a party believes that the other has hidden assets that should be included, they can have a private investigator conduct asset searches during the pre-divorce proceedings.

A decent amount of surveillance may be conducted during these proceedings as well, especially if a prenuptial agreement is in play. In most agreements, infidelity has a role in how assets or divided (or a lack thereof), so catching a cheating spouse often clarifies some of the proceedings and eliminates lengthy divorces.

Requirements of a Private Investigator in the US

Becoming a private investigator can be a lengthy process in the US, especially without any industry knowledge. Statistically, most of the people who enter into the private investigation field are former employees of law enforcement or associated career paths who have retired from that line of duty (but aren’t ready to give up an active lifestyle).

The general requirements for obtaining a private investigator license in the US are:

  • Meeting the minimum age in the state – often ranges from 18-25
  • Be a US citizen or legal resident
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Industry experience or college education
  • Clean criminal background check

Many states have their own requirements when it comes to state-level licensure for private investigators. All of these requirements vary by state, but interestingly enough, some states do not have state-level licensure requirements.

Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota, and Mississippi do not require licensing at the state level. Only Alaska and Wyoming have local-level requirements.

Other states work using reciprocity agreements. California is one of those states. The requirements to practice private investigation in California requires intensive background checks through the California Department of Justice and the FBI. Hours and educational requirements are also a pre-requisite for licensing. Applicants are also required to pass an exam before applying for the license.  All fees must be paid before any license will be issued.

With states with reciprocity agreements, a private investigator from California who is working a family law case could operate in a state that acknowledges the reciprocity under their California license and conducts their business if necessary. States that do not have this agreement require investigators to be licensed in that state to be able to conduct business.

Reciprocity agreement states are:

  • California
  • Virginia
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina
  • Florida
  • Georgia

Licensed Investigators Leading You Through The Justice System

Part of navigating the family law cases is being able to navigate through the justice system as a whole. Private investigators who have a strong background in law and ethics are often better suited to handle cases that end up in the courtroom.

Those investigators who have very little experience may not be suited to testify in court unless they have prepared thoroughly. In some cases, a private investigator will need to go on the record during the case to explain the surveillance, what they saw, and how they came to obtain the evidence. All licensed private investigators are required to follow a code of ethics and responsibilities when conducting their investigations and gathering evidence. No laws can be broken to gain admissible evidence in these cases.

Stay Away from Social Media

The biggest mistake that people make during their family law cases is the misuse of social media. Not many people realize how much information a private investigator can get off social media, even private accounts. Many attorneys will advise staying off of social media completely during a court case. That is not always great advice.

The rule should be not to post anything that you don’t want coming out in court. For example, it is the other parent’s night to have the child, but calls and tells you that they are under the weather and need to cancel.

Your private investigator monitors the social media account of the other party and gets a notification that they were just tagged in a picture at a bar one town over. They get the screenshot with the time and date stamp and refers to the agreed-upon temporary schedule, and notices that the child is supposed to be with them.

Shortly after discussing the information with the client, the other party removes the picture from their social media account and makes a post about feeling ill and staying in bed because they are under the weather. Again, screenshots with the date and time stamp.

When reviewed by the judge, it is obvious what has happened. Not only did the parent shrug off parental responsibility, but they also lied and tried covering it up. The evidence is in your favor and sheds light on whether or not the custody should be granted to the other party or not.

Guidance From Kay & Associates in Family Law Matters

Kay & Associates has been handling private investigation cases, including family law in California since 1992. With experts who know what is needed to handle custody, child support, and divorce cases, clients never have to worry about whether or not they are in good hands. With top of the line surveillance technology, Kay & Associates leaves no stone unturned when protecting your family and aiding your attorney.

If you are looking for a private investigator who can help in family law matters, call for your free 15-minute case consultation. We accept calls from lawyers and individual clients. We can also be reached via our email or through the online contact form. Our goal is to protect your family while offering professionalism, honesty, and discretion for your case.