The Role of a Social Investigator in a Florida Divorce
When it comes to child custody cases, the primary concern of the court is protecting the best interests of the child. The court recognizes that typically both parents play a pivotal role in a child’s life and encourages shared parental responsibility (previously known as joint custody) whenever possible. However, if during a divorce parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the court has the right to appoint a social investigator to investigate the situation. This individual is a neutral third-party focused on preserving the welfare of the child. Social investigators are usually licensed psychologists, family therapists, clinical social workers, or mental health professionals.
Some of the issues investigated include:
- Time-sharing schedule conflicts
- Modification of a current parenting plan
- Initial determination of a parent plan
- Other parenting schedule issues
When investigating parenting schedule and plan concerns, social investigators look carefully at the relationship each parent has with the child. The lifestyles and health of each parent are also considered at this time. After a rigorous investigation, the social investigator will then make recommendations to the court regarding the best parenting plan/visitation schedule.
How can a social investigator determine parenting time?
Unless a parent is considered a danger to the child, an effort will be made to foster some type of relationship between the two. However, a social investigator may look at many aspects of a parent’s life to determine the best environment for a child to be raised. This includes the following:
- Extensive background checks
- Reviewing police records of parents
- Interviewing parents as well as children
- Speaking to the parent’s character references
- Conducting interviews of teachers, neighbors, and childcare providers
Keep in mind that a social investigator may conclude that there should be equal parenting time, or more time with one parent as opposed to the other parent.
Contact a compassionate Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida child custody lawyer who has experience with social investigations.
Attorney Matthew Z. Martell is focused on protecting your child as well as your parental rights in the best manner possible. To schedule a free initial phone consultation with a dedicated Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida family law attorney today, contact the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. at (941) 556-7020. We proudly serve clients needing social investigations in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, and throughout Sarasota County and Manatee County.