Alisha Ankers Law Office

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Child Custody Investigations


What is a Child Custody Investigation?

In the simplest terms, a custody investigator is a neutral party designated by the court to:1.    Collect the facts concerning the family without bias.2.    Compile those facts into a report.3.    Use the information gathered to provide the parties or the court with a recommended solution to the issues that will be in the children's best interest.4.    The custody investigation report may sometimes aid the parties in reaching a settlement agreement


North Dakota law defines the duties of a child custody investigator as follows:

· a) Investigatory Responsibilities. A custody investigator shall:(1) become knowledgeable about the child's and family's history and present situation by reviewing the court file; reviewing records and reports, including medical, law enforcement, psychological, psychiatric, and educational records and reports; and researching information about any related criminal or child protection proceeding, investigation, or allegation; (2) obtain necessary authorizations for release of information; (3) interview, as appropriate, social workers and probation officers to obtain background and current information regarding the child and family; (4) interview, as appropriate, service providers (i.e. teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, neighbors, and others) who are knowledgeable about the child's and family's past and present situation; (5) interview, as appropriate, the child's parents and siblings, and the people with whom the child resides or may reside, and other people who are significant in the child's daily life; (6) meet and observe the child in a manner consistent with the child's developmental capabilities; (7) observe, as appropriate, parent and child interaction; (8) prepare a written report regarding the child's best interests, including conclusions and recommendations and the facts upon which they are based; (9) file the written report with the court and serve it on the parties at least 30 days prior to the hearing; and (10) recommend, as appropriate, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations, physical evaluations, parenting evaluations, chemical dependency evaluations, or other evaluations.(b) Court Proceedings. A custody investigator shall attend all court proceedings and shall testify when requested. A custody investigator may not call a witness, question a witness, file a motion, or act as a legal advocate. (c) Post Investigation Duties. The custody investigator, by order of the court, may assist in custody and visitation issues after submission of the report.

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Alisha Ankers, Attorney at Law