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Hire The Right New Jersey Private Investigator For Your Child Custody Investigation

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A parent who is going through a divorce in New Jersey, or as a matter of a post-divorce decision will often contemplate the hiring of a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator to assist his or her attorney in the gathering of admissible evidence to advance his or her Child Custody Motion before a New Jersey Family Court. This parent will surely have a number of very important issues to ponder prior to the hiring of a New Jersey Private Investigator to assist their divorce attorney in achieving that goal.

1.   First and foremost, ask yourself this question; Are your motives for seeking child custody pure and if you were to succeed, would it truly be in the best interest of your son or daughter for them to be with you, rather than being with the parent they currently reside with?  Are you certain your real underlying motive for seeking Child Custody from a New Jersey Family Court has nothing to do with your desire not to pay child support; or, are you equally certain you only object to the new paramour of your former spouse because this new boyfriend/girlfriend is a risk to your child’s physical and emotional safety as opposed to your holding deep-seated jealousies?  The answers to these questions will help you determine whether or not you should make a full-blown effort to obtain custody of your children.

2.  By no means is it going to be an easy lift to convince a New Jersey Family Court to alter the current Child Custody Status without a substantial evidential showing that the child custody arrangements as they currently exist are “not in the best interests of the child (or children)”.

When you seriously consider the above and decide your child’s best interests are served by a change of physical custody and/or legal custody, it will be extremely important to hire a competent family law attorney with specific knowledge of litigating Child Custody Motions in a New Jersey Family Court.  The attorney you hire cannot be expected to gather evidence for your Child Custody Motion; the attorney’s job will be to vet the evidence for relevance and admissibility that you obtain and present to him/her.  More often then not your attorney will recommend you secure the services of a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator who possesses a background in investigating Change of Custody Motions before a New Jersey Family Court.  When considering on which New Jersey Private Investigator to retain for your Child Custody Investigation it is of paramount importance to choose a Private Investigator  that has a strong background in the following areas:

1.   Investigation management 

2.   Participation of a Private Investigator with a broad range of investigative experience to include, a) Child Custody Investigations, b) Cohabitation Investigations as well as other divorce related inquiries, c) Criminal Investigations to include child abuse and/or child endangerment as well as Domestic Violence Investigations

3.  The Private Investigator Should Also Have A Background In New Jersey Criminal Code 2C, and all of its areas of criminal activities to include; sexual assault, physical assaults, domestic violence, juvenile law, this is not an exclusive list.

Further Considerations When Deciding On Retaining A Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator

Perhaps the most important trait to look for in your New Jersey Private Investigator is one of cooperativeness with your attorney and your legal counsels approach in order for you to prevail in your Child Custody Motion before a New Jersey Family Court.  It is of monumental importance your Private Investigator be willing to listen to and take direction from your Divorce Attorney as to the type of evidence your lawyer desires as per your specific Child Custody Motion; no two Child Custody Motions are the same.

As a thirty-five year veteran of the Jersey City Police Department who came up through the ranks and is the former Chief of that Department I had a front row seat to the atrocities some parents will commit upon their children, both physical and emotional. Prior to being appointed as the Chief of the Department I worked in various ranks during nights, weekends and holidays personally handling and/or overseeing investigations of child abuse, child endangerment Domestic Violence as well as other crimes against children; these crimes were often perpetrated by those the children should be able to love and trust. Each time when there were indications or allegations of abuse to children it was necessary to get the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) involved in order to make immediate and temporary custody decisions concerning children and ultimately recommendations to the court on a myriad of issues concerning the children who had suffered abuse.

Without editorializing it would suffice to say I was not always a big fan of the decisions I witnessed DYFS come to concerning children, many of which I think were caused by understaffing and budgetary limitations placed upon the agency by various State Administrations, and some of which were caused by an “I don’t give a damn attitude”. What I am trying to relate here and impress upon parents is the fact that if you truly believe your children are unsafe with the parent who currently has residential custody do not count on the police, DYFS or any other public agency to keep your kids safe, it is on you to protect your children. You as a parent must take the bull by the horns and advocate for your child, public agencies will only keep your kids safe temporarily; once your children return to the home of an abusive parent your kids will once again be on their own. For this reason, it is imperative you make the right decisions when selecting a New Jersey Child Custody and Family Law Attorney as well as a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator to work with your Divorce Attorney on your behalf for the benefit of your children by prevailing in a Child Custody Motion before a New Jersey Family Court.

When hiring a New Jersey Private Investigator to gather evidence that will be admissible in a New Jersey Family Court in a Child Custody Motion it is imperative you conduct your due diligence on an investigator prior to the hiring of him/her. You would be shocked at the number of people who will Google Search “Private Investigator” and just call the number of the first advertisement that pops up without even looking at the New Jersey Private Investigators Website and or his/her credentials and background. I have been contacted multiple times by client’s who had retained other New Jersey Private Investigators and spent thousands of dollars before the client realized the investigator was either not competent or didn’t really care to actually work for the money they charged; hiring the wrong Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator can be a very expensive proposition.

It is imperative you find a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator who is willing to do anything legally permissible in order to gather legally admissible evidence in order to assist you and your Divorce Attorney in prevailing in your Child Custody Motion before a New Jersey Family Court. While conducting your “due diligence” research on New Jersey Private Investigators you might consider hiring, I suggest you take the following into consideration:

  1. Does the New Jersey Private Investigator have a law enforcement background, experience and training outside of the private investigation field such as Juvenile Law, Domestic Violence, and Criminal Law specific to New Jersey?
  2. Does the Private Investigator you are considering “Sub-Contract” your Child Custody Matter to other private investigators for investigations who are not directly employed by his/her firm? (Very often a Private Investigation firm will charge you $85.00 to $140.00 per hour for services and Subcontract the investigation to other licensed investigators while skimming up to 50% of the hourly rate for themselves as a “management fee”. Under no circumstances should you retain a firm that will be subcontracting your investigation, it is imperative you have a direct line of communication with the investigator handling your case in the field).
  3. What hours of the day and/or night will the Private Investigator your considering hiring be willing to work? Will the Private Investigation Firm be willing to work weekends and holidays, if so will there be an additional hourly charge? (In my thirty-five years on the Jersey City Police Department it is stunning to see the number of police officers who think they signed up for a Monday through Friday 9:00AM to 5:00pm job, I am not kidding, it would absolutely stun you. Do not make that mistake with your private investigator because many investigators fit this Monday through Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm attitude).
  4. Ask the New Jersey Private Investigator what would happen if you came into possession of actionable intelligence in regard to your case at 12:15AM early on a Sunday Morning and there was possibility of obtaining substantial evidence at 2:30AM that same morning if an investigator could get out into the field; ask if the private investigator would be reachable and have a plan to set into motion in order to respond to this sudden early morning need.
  5. Lastly, inquire if the Private Investigation Firm your considering has a website; if private investigator does have a website it is extremely important you review this “blueprint for competence”. If the website is sparse of information, poorly written, poorly constructed and plagiarized this is a major warning sign, do not walk away from this private investigation firm, RUN AWAY.

Any Private Investigation Firm that would put a substandard Website online for public consumption is essentially signaling to you they are lazy, non-caring or they just don’t have the ability to put a professional face to their business; I guarantee if you hire a private investigator with either no website or a substandard website you can expect the work product you obtain from these investigation firms will likewise be substandard and the fault will be yours for not having done your due diligence. These are your children do not cut corners you must do your “due diligence research”.

For more info, please visit our Child Custody page.


If you wish to speak with me regarding this article, or if you need a consultation regarding it’s contents please do not hesitate to call me at 732-837-8444, seven days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm.  

About the author: Bob Cowan is the owner of Cowan Investigations a full service New Jersey Private Investigations Firm, Bob is the former Chief of the Jersey City Police Department and has 35 years experience as a police officer.

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