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From Child Custody to Child Abduction Cases – How Private Investigators Help

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According to the Canadian Department of Justice, around 5 million Canadians divorced or separated between 1991 and 2011. Some of the couples that divorced or separated during this time period also had children (approximately 38%). The majority of these couples, and all couples who divorce with children, resolved their child custody disputes either through mediation or the court system. A select few however, can’t or don’t manage to figure out the best way to move forward. In these select cases, a child custody case can turn scary. The reason why is because one of the parents isn’t capable of taking care of a child. Other reasons include more serious offences like, child abduction. 

So, what can you do when you go from a simple child custody dispute to child abduction? Keep reading to find out . . .

Child Abduction – A Serious Offence

Divorce and separation is never easy. Emotions run high, and in some cases, this causes people to behave irrationally. As a result, some believe that their only option is to take their child and flee the city, province, or even country. When a parent abducts his or her own child and manages to make it to another country, the case can become even more challenging. Different countries have different laws. These different laws can actually protect the parent from facing any child abduction offences in Canada. It becomes incredibly difficult for the rightful parent to regain custody. As you can imagine, this can turn into a nightmare for the rightful parent. 

Here’s an example. Two women conceived a daughter via a sperm donor. However, shortly after the child was born, the women divorced. One woman had full custody, however, the other was in the process of fighting for equal custody rights. The mother with full custody ignored a court order to remain in Canada and fled with their daughter. The child was found three years later and is now in the process of returning to Canada. What this all means is that the mother who left Canada with the child is currently facing several charges and offences. She is still in custody and the child has been removed from her care. 

While rare, child custody abduction cases do indeed happen. The important part is whether or not you get the right help, and fast. 

How to Locate or Help Your Child – Hire a Private Investigator

The question you likely want answered is: “What can I do in serious situations where my child is looked after by an unfit parent or is abducted by a parent?” 

If your child is abducted, you must alert the police. Across Canada in areas like Ontario (Toronto, Ottawa, Brampton, etc.), the police can send out an alert so that the public becomes aware of the missing child. The public is instrumental in helping to find missing children. On the flip side, if you believe that your ex is abusing your children, or isn’t providing the right kind of care, you need to get children’s aid involved. In both situations, acting quickly is the best approach. 

However, situations do arise where the police can’t locate the abducted child. In some abduction cases, police actually require a little extra help. You might also want proof of the fact that your ex isn’t providing great care for your children. It is in these situations that hiring a private investigator to help will only increase your ability to keep your child safe. 

Why a Private Investigator?

Private investigators are highly trained, licensed individuals who can help you to locate/find your child. A private investigator can also give you the evidence you need to prove your ex is an unfit parent. Private investigators achieve this through the use of several different skills including:


In child custody abduction cases, the very first thing a private investigator must do is locate or find the child. If the private investigator is well trained, he or she will know exactly where to look and what to look for to track down your ex. The techniques and tools a private investigator use to locate your child vary. It all depends on the case. What is typical of abduction cases however is that the ex isn’t an expert. He or she will make a mistake and leave a trail of breadcrumbs. This trail is something a private investigator will use to his or her advantage to find your child. 


Child custody surveillance can mean different things to a private investigator. The type of surveillance required all depends on the child custody case. For example, if a child is abducted, a private investigator will need to first locate or find the child. Once the child is located, the private investigator can alert the parent and the authorities.

A private investigator can also use surveillance to keep track of a parent. Let’s say that you believe your ex is leaving your children home alone to go out with friends and party all night. You can hire a private investigator to run surveillance on your ex. The private investigator will likely park his or her car near your ex’s house. When your ex has your children, the private investigator will monitor and record behavior. 

The most important element to surveillance is that the person must not know or suspect someone is watching. The person must go about their day (or night) as normal. This is why it’s better to hire a private investigator to help you. Your ex won’t know or suspect someone they’ve never seen before. If you try to run surveillance your ex will recognize you. The moment a person thinks they might get caught, they change their behavior. 

Background Checks

A private investigator can run a background check on your ex for many different reasons. When it comes to child custody cases, a background check could reveal information you never even knew about your ex. 

When it comes to abduction cases, for example, it’s possible that your ex has hidden assets in different countries. A recently purchased home in Spain for example, would provide a good clue as to where your ex and child are living. A background check might also show that your ex has a history of violence. You could use this information to prove that your ex should not be around your children. 

Putting Your Child First

Divorce or separation is difficult not only for the parents but also for any children involved. The good news is, most Canadian couples manage to resolve their issues through mediation or outside of court. If however, two people can’t figure out how to make child custody work, problems can arise. Should you feel that your ex doesn’t treat your children well, or is at risk for abducting your child, you need to act quickly. You can do this by hiring a private investigator. A private investigator will know exactly what you need and what to do to keep your child safe. After all, as a parent, protecting your child is of the utmost importance. Getting help with your child custody case is the right thing to do. 

Do you need help with your child custody case? Contact us today with your questions or concerns. We are happy to help!

Phone: (888) 950-4113 or Email:

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.

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