Deciding on child custody can be one of the most challenging decisions for any family. Still, it is necessary when agreeing on a safe and secure upbringing for a child. In some cases, a child custody investigation (or simply an investigation) can be a helpful tool for both parties to consider when determining the proper custodial arrangement for their child.

What Is a Child Custody Investigation?

A child custody investigation is the process used to collect data and information to evaluate a situation and determine the best custodial arrangement for a child. Such an investigation can be initiated and conducted by a social worker, an attorney, or a court order.

The investigation aims to collect and examine evidence concerning a specific issue of deciding child custody, which can involve interviewing the parties and any third persons with knowledge or information relevant to the dispute. Child custody investigators might also observe interactions between the parents and their children and other aspects of family life.

How Does a Child Custody Investigation Work?

When conducting a child custody investigation, child custody investigators will typically try to answer some common questions:

  • What is the current relationship between the parents and children?
  • What is the mental and emotional health of the parents and children? 
  • What is the physical health of the children? 
  • What is the parenting ability of each parent and the bonding between the children and each parent?
  • What visits and other contact arrangements could be most beneficial for the children? 
  • What is the source of financial support for the children? 
  • Is the home environment safe and secure for the children?

The child custody investigator will then create a report with their findings and conclusions for the court to consider.

What Are the Benefits of a Custody Investigation?

A child custody investigation can have several benefits: 

  • It can provide an unbiased assessment of the situation to help the court make a fairer decision when assigning custody. 
  • It can help ensure that the child’s best interests are being served. 
  • It can allow both parties involved to have their say and provide factual information to the court. 
  • It can help reduce the potential animosity between the parents by providing a set of facts to the court rather than relying on each parent’s version of the truth. 
  • It can protect the child’s safety.

What Are the Potential Downsides of a Custody Investigation?

  • It can be expensive and time-consuming. 
  • It can be intrusive as the investigator may ask personal questions and observe intimate family details. 
  • If a parent does not cooperate, the investigation results may be unfavorable for that particular parent. 
  • It can potentially lead to greater animosity between the parents.


Child custody investigations can be a helpful tool in making a fair and reasonable determination regarding child custody arrangements. Still, the potential downsides should be weighed against the potential benefits. Considering all available options and discussing them with your family lawyer before deciding on a course of action is essential.

Work with a reputable child custody investigator when you choose Quinn & Associates. We are a professional investigation service agency centrally located in Southern California and Arizona. Get in touch with us for more information.