Going through a divorce with children can be a very lonely, terrifying experience. It's not easy to navigate child custody or child support alone or even with a lawyer. Private Investigators are used by law firms and private clients alike, to gather information for determining and enforcing child support.
There are tactics a private investigator uses during the divorce proceedings to help a parent when it comes to determining child support. Then after the amount is determined, there are things a private investigator can do to help gather information that can help change the amount of support, or obtain information to help enforce that child support payments are made.
Before child support is settled, law firms or individuals may use a private investigators to find assets (and liabilities, such as debt) that can be relevant. It is not uncommon for one spouse to attempt to hide assets once they believe divorce is imminent, and a licensed investigator can be instrumental in making sure the playing field is level from the outset.
Private investigators can also be used to gather evidence of several factors that can determine child support. These factors include: special needs of the child, the ability of one parent to pay, the standard of living for the child, and whether the paying spouse already supports two or more families under other child support orders.
Another way private investigators are used in child support cases is when a former spouse has stopped paying. When this happens, many families and many children are left devoid of the financial support promised to them by courts. Private investigators can get involved by
- Tracking down parents who have changed their place of residence or their identity to avoid child support payments.
- Tracking down a parent’s place of employment, so that child support payments can be deducted from their pay.
- Surveillance to prove that a non-paying parent is living a lifestyle which includes enough money to make payments.
It's good to remember that private investigators are not collection agencies. They are not generally hired to harass the non-paying parent or serve paperwork, but they can provide information and records that will hold up in court.
When it comes to changing the amount of support a parent pays, private investigators can be of help in that area too. Child support is determined by the state and each state has its own formula for deciding the support amount. Most states, however, use the Income Shares Model. This is where the court bases the child support payment on the combined income of both parents and the number of children. By this model, the courts determine the cost of raising one child and then split the difference between the two parents based off their individual incomes.
This can change, then, when one spouse begins to make considerably more or considerably less than the salary that originally decided the support payments. Private investigators can be used to verify the income change (loss of job or a promotion, new marriage or a new or worsening disease or disability).
For more information on Child Support investigations, you can read more Here or drop us a line. We'd love to talk with you about different options you have when working through a child support case.