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How PI Asset Searches Help Win Child Custody Cases

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There are many people who think that private investigators only take on cheating spouse cases. Well, we’re here to tell you that there’s so much more to private investigation than catching someone with their pants down.

Private investigation techniques span many situations, and many case types. One of the lesser known techniques or case types that a private investigator handles is asset searches.

Asset searches are valuable for many reasons. One of these reasons includes, helping in child custody cases. But before we get into why, let’s take a deeper look into what asset searches and child custody cases actually are.

What is an Asset Search?

Assets include anything of value that an individual (or group of individuals) own. Examples of assets include,

  • Property
  • Money
  • Jewelry
  • Art
  • Businesses/Companies

While having or owning assets isn’t illegal, there are some people who move or hide assets in order to avoid paying taxes, or disclosing information in court. This is very common in divorce situations where one person (or both people in some cases) doesn’t want to give up one or some of their assets.

These people hide money, or property, etc., which lowers their total value. They then only need to divide their revealed assets, instead of what they truly own.

You can hire a private investigator to conduct an asset search for many reasons. Some companies will hire a private investigator to look into another company’s assets to make sure that they aren’t going bankrupt. You can also hire a private investigator to complete an asset search in a child custody case.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody is something that divorcing or separating parents go through. Technically, it is a legal agreement between the two parents that define parenting rules, boundaries and other pertinent details.

For example, child custody might define that one parent will only see their child on weekends and that the other parent will have their child the rest of the time.

In some, more serious cases, if one parent is deemed unfit, they can lose custody of their child completely. This can happen whether or not the parents are divorcing or separating.

How Can a PI Help?

Putting together asset searches and child custody, gives us a pretty interesting case. Interesting and complex—we’ll tell you why.

What it likely means that one parent is seeking sole custody of their children. It also likely means that they want the other parent to help pay to raise their children. But the other parent either doesn’t want to pay or claims that they don’t have enough assets to pay a fair amount.

Confused yet? Don’t worry. You’re not the only one.

This is why and how a private investigator will help. They can do all of the heavy lifting whether you are taking the other parent to court or not. A private investigator is also often called in to help lawyers find information. The lawyer will ask the private investigator some questions including,

  • Does the accused have assets they have not disclosed?
  • If so, how much will that change the child custody payments?
  • Will the hidden assets impact who gets to keep sole custody of the child?

. . . And the list goes on.

The most important takeaway here is that hiring a private investigator will help to support your case. They will uncover any information legally, and will not lie or alter the results in any way. In such a complex situation, this is exactly what you need. After all, if you behave in a way that implicates you in any illegal activity, you will not get the outcome you’re looking for.

Techniques a PI Can Use

There are many different techniques that a private investigator can use to find assets in a child custody case. All of these techniques require a private investigator with an active investigation license and not just your best friend. Not only will the private investigator know how to conduct a proper investigation, the material they gather will be usable in court.

Previous Facts

In many child custody cases with asset searches, we find that our client typically has facts and information that they’ve gathered on their own. Whether it’s a mysterious bank statement, overheard conversation, or random tip, this information is valuable.

It’s valuable because it helps a private investigator know where to start in their research. At the same time, it’s not valuable depending on where the client lives. In most places, obtaining bank statements, or monitoring emails is illegal and cannot be used in court.

Therefore, previous facts can be used as a launching point, but it’s still up to the private investigator to find additional evidence to back those facts up.


This technique is the most commonly used private investigation technique. It requires the private investigator to keep an eye on the person in question. This means watching and following the individual, and recording what that individual does.

Surveillance can reveal many things. It could be that the parent doesn’t have any assets but is abusing the child. Maybe the parent has made multiple visits to a bank in one day, or drives out to a storage facility. These are only a few examples.

As the private investigator conducts their surveillance to find evidence of assets, it is critical that they make a record of what they see or find. That way, the evidence can be used in court.


Interviews are a wonderful way for a private investigator to gather information in an asset search, child custody case. The child involved in the case, for example, might have seen or heard their parent interacting with an art dealer or bank account manager. Then there are neighbors or co-workers who the parent might have talked to about some assets that don’t appear on the books.

Finding people who are close to the individual is a great technique for uncovering asset information in a child custody case.

Are you involved in a custody case? Do you think your Ex is hiding assets? Contact the Smith Investigation Agency today to find out how we can help. or 647-479-8474

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